Businesses Win for Heart, Brain
"I was stunned to see how the elderly in the United States were treated and viewed," writes Nader R. Shabahangi in his book of photographs, Faces of Aging (San Francisco: Elder Academy Press, 2002). In creating AgeSong Senior Communities in San Francisco, Shabahangi, a psychologist, set out to change the ugly status quo he had witnessed in America where "the elderly [were] gathered in warehouse-style nursing homes, where many of them sat unnoticed for hours under the anesthetizing flickering of fluorescent hallway lights, and where ... they were treated as useless members of society."
Shabahangi, chairman of the AgeSong hoard, accepted the American Society on Aging 2006 Business Award in the smallcompany category at the association's recent annual conference in Anaheim. AgeSong Inc.-which he named for a book of poetic mediations by his mentor, Elizabeth Bugental-is a family-operated pair of assisted living communities, Hayes Valley Care and Laguna Grove Care, that offer a noninstitutional approach aiming to support residents' social, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being. New facilities are planned.
Low staff turnover is a key facet of the AgeSong approach stemming from the management team's hands-on involvement in care.rAmong its innovations AgeSong created the position of emotional healthcare coordinator, devoted to the inner well-being of residents. The heart of the company's comprehensive care supports even the more difficult activities of daily living, and no resident is discharged merely for needing increased levels of attention. …