Message from LeadingAge CA President and CEO Jeannee Parker Martin
Engage Magazine General Interest Spring 2020

From the CEO – Spring 2020

by Jeannee Parker Martin, President and CEO, LeadingAge California

Jeannee Parker Martin - From the CEOCOVID-19 has turned us upside down in so many ways. Working ‘with’ new rules, leniencies, funding sources, temporary guidelines, testing confusion, and hoping this will end sooner rather than later. We are also working ‘without’ sufficient PPE, without staff, and with uncertainties about the impact on our communities and residents in the near and long term., headline news, sickness and death. In a time of crisis, your best leadership strengths exhibit – your behaviors, your quick action, your ability to balance ‘with’ and ‘without,’ and your focus on the future of your community and residents.

I am awed by the work of our communities, your concerns for your residents and workers, your stories of success under pressure. And we know that many of you are straddling the dock and the boat. Working to stay the course, while strategizing for an uncertain future. Perhaps this is a time where we will begin to reimagine housing, care and services for older adults.

And such re-imagining is being noticed in what now have become everyday conversations, every day media posts, and everyday policy discussions. This is the time for older adults in our state, and across the country. The needs of older people are being recognized on every level — from equity, to social isolation, to needs for caregivers, to appropriate housing. In these and many other areas, LeadingAge California has your back — demanding at the highest levels of our state government on behalf of your communities; raising awareness in every conversation about the needs of older adults in our state, the challenges you have in all levels of housing, care and service delivery, the demands you have to be a first-responder while so many overlooked your organization in the distribution line; advocating for leniencies so you could get staff more quickly trained and deployed to your settings; finding funding that has been redirected on your behalf; getting action for rural and urban providers; and not stopping.

We are now poised to turn this challenge into success for our future. For COVID-19 is just one of many disasters our state will confront, and we will be better prepared through data-driven decisions about staff deployment, renewed training, emergency preparedness, and reducing other barriers for housing, care and service providers to succeed.