Noa Lustgarten recently stepped away from her headphones, three screens, and a framed photo of her three daughters to sip a soy latte and discuss what she loves about her job as Director of Service Delivery at Assured Allies. Enjoy!

What path led you to join Assured Allies?

I practiced as a licensed physical therapist (PT) in acute rehabilitation care for about 12 years. Since my specialty was neurorehabilitation, I worked mainly with patients who suffered from strokes, traumatic brain injuries, Parkinson’s disease, and surgery complications. I was moved by the struggles of my older adult patients who dreaded going into a nursing home but also found it extremely challenging to age independently at home. The mission of Assured Allies, to help older adults live longer at home, resonated strongly with me. 

Was there anything besides the mission that you found appealing about Assured Allies?

Yes, my clinical work as a PT was meaningful, but I was only able to impact one life at a time. Assured Allies would enable me to make a difference and help solve aging-at-home challenges for a much larger population.  Also, compared to other start-ups in the same space, Assured Allies stood out for its hyper-focus on research-based iteration.

How so?

Well, first off, we have a robust research department! [laughs] All of our protocols, solutions, and engagement strategies for helping older adults to stay independent are very evidence-based. I was also impressed by the results of the company’s internal research, like the fact that they reduced claims by 10% for our longest-running LTCI client.

What is your role, exactly? What’s a typical day like?

My role is to oversee service delivery’s day-to-day operations, which include our Ally (health coaches) and Admin (vendor management) teams. I ensure that we serve a high volume of members while maintaining a high quality of service. 

Most of the day I am in back-to-back meetings across teams and departments. optimizing how we work, and driving our goals forward. I monitor our performance to ensure we meet our KPIs (key performance indicators) and SLAs (service level agreements). When there are gaps or obstacles, I raise flags and work across teams to resolve them. I also manage our capacity to enhance our operational efficiency. When any escalations arise from the teams, I work with them to resolve the issues and make sure they are handled promptly and with a high degree of customer service.

What do you do when things don’t go according to plan?

I take a breath, think about the problem, the goal, and try to break it down through a corrective action plan. I might also go for a run to clear my head.  

What advice would you give a twenty-something about how to succeed in work and life?

Travel outside your comfort zone! See the world while you can. When I was 21, I backpacked alone in India for three months and developed some skill sets that I still draw upon today..

Like what?

Always challenge yourself,  even when it is scary to jump, otherwise you stay in the same place. Self-reliance and flexibility are really important, especially when you’re in a very unfamiliar situation. 

Speaking of new places, how do you find the culture at Assured Allies? 

One of the things  I love most here is the culture. Everyone is highly engaged and deeply cares about the work we are doing for our members. The collaboration is exceptional: everyone volunteers, jumps in, raises concerns when needed, and pitches in to resolve them. We’re incredibly fortunate to have such an outstanding team.  

What do you like to do outside of work? 

When I’m not being mom to my three girls, 10, 8, and 5, you might find me running and training for my next half marathon or dancing with a bunch of friends at a rave!

Anna Annecca joined Assured Allies after earning a clinical doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis and working clinically for five years with a diverse population from age 26 weeks in utero to 102. During a busy spring week, she was generous enough to take a quick coffee break and share what she loves about her work at Assured Allies. Enjoy!

What path led you to join Assured Allies?

In 2021, right before I welcomed my daughter into my life, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Luckily he has an excellent long-term care policy, but navigating his disease and care has been challenging for me, even with my background and understanding of the industry.  So when one of my closest friends from graduate school recommended a role alongside her at Assured Allies, it seemed the perfect fit. 

What is your role?

I am the clinical operations team lead. I work on both of our products, AgeAssured and NeverStop. Essentially I am the bridge between our clinical research, product, engineering, and operations teams, translating our learnings and clinical research into operational protocols for our amazing team of Allies to execute. 

For example, we learned over time that Allies who used motivational interviewing techniques were more effective in helping our members make changes. So we implemented motivational interviewing—which also has a strong evidence base outside our program—into our training and protocols program-wide. We have since seen our members thrive with these strategies in place!

How do you cope when things on the ground don’t go according to plan? 

When people are involved, nothing goes exactly according to plan. But that is life! You have to pivot, read the situation, and plan your next steps. Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether I think something is the most amazing clinical protocol in the world: if our Allies and members don’t like it, it will not work. If there’s a gap, I take it back to our product team to problem-solve until it works smoothly on the clinical side. I’m proud of how our entire team iterates quickly. It matters because the older adults we serve are immediately affected.

What are the top three things you would advise a new person in your position?

Number one, learn to love the iteration. Your first presentation, protocol, or training program is always going to fall short, and that’s not only ok, it’s good because it means others who have knowledge you don’t can contribute. 

Secondly,  learn to pivot without losing too much momentum or spirit. Start-ups are wildly unique and can change on a dime, maybe especially when they’re trying to help people. 

Last but not least, stay curious and open-minded. Ask questions. If you think something is wrong, understand why it is that way before you judge.  It will help you fully grasp what is in front of you and help to create a great work culture. 

What part of your job do you love the most?

I love the people I work with. I am extremely grateful to my team and my manager. It is such a fun group of people. We laugh and have fun together even when it’s extremely busy.  

What is most innovative about your work at Assured Allies?

Being able to help people on a live phone call is amazing. We can quickly identify what someone needs based on our clinical protocols and internal knowledge. This has translated into two very different, but world-class programs. 

What is a typical day like on the Operations team?

Ops is the Wild West! I always start with a strong cup of coffee. I review any updates from our team in Israel and connect with my manager. Then I dig into the different projects I have on the docket for the day. This morning I developed two new protocols for NeverStop Wellness, sat with our AgeAssured wellness pod and reviewed a call, presented a new AgeAssured protocol to the Operations team (it was approved!), and this afternoon finetuned some new features for the NeverStop program!

What is it like to be a woman leader in your field? 

As a clinician, I come from a woman-dominated industry, so transitioning into a tech-based start-up was a good change of pace. It’s been an empowering journey filled with opportunities to challenge stereotypes, break barriers, and inspire others. It’s about embracing diversity, leveraging unique perspectives, and driving positive change. Paving the way for future generations is incredibly rewarding. And I owe my success to the strong women who work alongside me and who have come before me—the incredible women-dominated operations team and my badass of a grandmother, Joyce Cortina, who taught me never to fear voicing my opinion in a room full of men. 

What has most surprised you about your time at Assured Allies?

How much fun iteration is. I grew up with the saying, “If you are going to do something, do it right.”  Assured Allies, has taught me that if you are going to do something right, you need to do it again—and again! 

What are some fun, quirky things people should know about you?

I am a big ole’ nerd. I love to hang out with my family, play video games (Zelda, TOTK). I also love to cook, and explore the world with my family. 

In honor of National Social Worker’s Month 2024, we asked four of our amazing social workers on staff to highlight some aspects of their work with older adults in our AgeAssured program that are sometimes overlooked by the general public. We hope their insights deepen your understanding of the value social workers contribute to the ability of all older adults to thrive and remain independent for as long as possible, wherever they call home.

Working around constraints

By Marissa Badler, MSW, C-ASWCM, CDP

Social workers have a passionate desire to help people, and we’re often frustrated when we can’t wave a magic wand and fix system-wide problems that affect our clients. Older adults, for example, are often limited by a lack of affordable in-home care, lack of decent housing, few affordable transportation solutions, unavailability of meal and grocery delivery, and difficulties in communicating with medical providers. At Assured Allies, we encounter these same societal challenges but embrace innovative ways to solve them at the individual level. We coach our members to communicate more effectively with their doctor, cut through the noise to find the best-in-class device tailored to their personalized needs, and empower them to broaden their circle of support. We can’t solve every problem, but our company goes a long way to fill some of the many gaps in our society so that older adults can thrive at home for as long as possible.

Managing emotional toll

By Angelina Portuense, LSW

No one’s life is perfect. Everyone encounters obstacles that build character and resilience—including social workers! To avoid burnout from managing both our personal struggles and those of our clients, social workers need to be mentally tough, compassionate, and able to compartmentalize and decompress when needed. In my work at Assured Allies, for example, I need to put aside my personal life and be fully present when a client worries about a catastrophic fall or is dismayed by how a new chronic disease diagnosis might affect their plans. Likewise, when I come home, I need to put aside my clients’ needs to focus on the needs of my family—and myself! I’m grateful that I work for a company that is dedicated to successful aging and that provides us with updated research, proven tools, and techniques. Knowing that I am a stable and reliable support for the members we serve lessens the emotional toll.

Paying attention to self-care

By Anna Gray, MSW

Social workers constantly advocate for the well-being of others, yet sometimes our well-being remains on the back burner. Self-care is not just about bubble baths and face masks. It’s often much more mundane: sufficient rest, good nutrition, professional support for challenging cases, exercise, and time to read a good book or recharge in nature. Even a small amount of time—10 minutes in the middle of a busy day to step away, stretch, walk, or meditate—can make a big difference. I enjoy drinking a cup of tea and taking walking breaks throughout the day to recharge and increase my energy and feelings of wellbeing. 

Honoring our scope of responsibilities

By Robin Carpenter, MSW

Social workers’ responsibilities extend far beyond providing counseling or support services. We often serve as advocates, liaisons, and coordinators, navigating complex systems to ensure that our older adult clients receive the assistance they need. This multifaceted role demands a diverse skill set and the ability to adapt to challenging situations. And here at Assured Allies, many of our social workers also take on leadership responsibilities. 

Historically, social workers are under-appreciated and under-compensated for the work they do. This year’s Social Work Month theme is ‘Empowering Social Workers: Social Workers deserve better compensation for the important work they do.’ I’m grateful that Assured Allies already honors this year’s theme by generously compensating and truly valuing the social workers on staff. We are recognized for our contributions to the company’s mission and supported by its commitment to work and life balance. At Assured Allies, we feel good doing the good work we do, every day.

March may be National Social Worker’s Month, but here at Assured Allies we hope you’ll join us in appreciating their contributions all year long. Why not reach out today and tell a social worker in your circle how much you value what they do?

At $7M a spot, Super Bowl ads have big stakes and are sometimes more entertaining than the game itself. At Assured Allies we care deeply about how older adults are portrayed in popular culture, and so we watch closely every year for how they fare on advertising’s biggest stage. Compared to some really mind-blowingly ageist ads in past Super Bowls, the 2024 slate shows glimmers of mild progress. That said, we still have a long way to go.

Still in stride at 80+

The BMW ad, one of the best according to the NYT’s ranking, features 80yo Christopher Walken as himself, suffering gladly the everyday fools who flatter him by trying to imitate his signature verbal cadence and twang. But no one has the real deal: there’s only one Walken. This vintage actor has earned his BMW by being a maverick, an authentic original who has only gotten better with time. 

A related ad is STōK Cold Brew with 86yo Anthony Hopkins, also playing himself, who makes fun of his serious actor reputation by donning a giant Wrex the Dragon costume and, fueled by Cold Brew, shouting “ROAR!” to Wrexham Soccer Club fans. The lampooning of Hopkins’ reputation, however, is nevertheless an indirect form of flattery. Hopkins is legend, and he gets the last word in the ad, a victorious “Ahhh!”

It’s great to see these two legends steal the show at age 80+. I just wish they had more diverse company. The only non-white-male legend who comes close is Glenn Close, 76, in the ad, but she’s only featured as Tina Fey’s non-desirable body double, identified after she whips off her brunette wig to display a cloud of white hair. “My nemesis!” says the horrified Fey. 

Older adults as comic foils

Hopefully, we have moved beyond the painfully obvious ageism in ads that make slapstick-style fun of older adult bodies like E*Trade’s 2018 “This is getting old” ad, the 2010 Betty White Snickers ad, and Taco Bell’s “Viva Young” 2013 ad

But have we? The Doritos ad, which features two abuelas, Dina and Mita, chasing down a young man who steals the last bag of Dinamita chips at the store from their hands, comes awfully close. We’re supposed to laugh as the two “old ladies” ram their motorized shopping carts into his car, crash through a window, and zipline down from a tall building to flail-kick him into submission. The humor is grounded in the absurdity: these old, frail abuelas would never be able to do that! The playbook here is the same as the E-Trade toddlers playing pickleball: old people, toddlers, and animals are funny when cast in adult roles precisely because they in no way qualify for them.

Oh how achingly sweet!

Older adult characters who function mainly as opportunities for younger people to show heart, loyalty, or compassion are a common sentimental trope, and the 2024 Kia ad is true to type. A father races his daughter, who has just won a figure skating championship, to her ailing grandfather so she can skate her winning ice dance in person for him. The grandfather, who improbably lives alone in a cabin surrounded by wilderness, is unable to even come outside and writes a “10” in the foggy glass window to score her performance. 

This ad is a tear-jerker of the “so close and yet so far” variety that in many ways echoes the Chevrolet 2023 Christmas ad where an empathic young woman goes way out of her way to make a human connection with an older female relative who has dementia. Older people are going, going, gone—fading from relevance—and so if you make an effort to value or recognize them or bring them back to life, then you are way above the unfeeling masses (in fact, you’re so special that you might want to buy a Chevrolet or a Kia).

The best age-positive ad

In terms of age positivity, the Superbowl 2024 winner is, somewhat surprisingly, the Microsoft Co-Pilot AI ad. Featuring a slew of anonymous Gen-Z types secretly burning with ambition despite society’s dismal view of them—”they say I’ll never make my movie”—the ad then ups the ante with tantalizingly brief glimpses of a long-haired older man smoking cigarettes and a middle-aged female medical professional with the copy: “they say I’m too old to learn something new, too young to change the world.” 

The fact that the secret sauce of all of these future talents is outsourcing all their thinking and production to Co-Pilot AI is a bit weird, but kudos to Microsoft for allowing older adults into the AI party at all, and for illuminating the natural alliance between the “too young” and the “too old,” both of whom suffer from age bias in our society. I just wish there were more older adults featured. Only 2/15 are older than 20-something, and neither of them returns at the end like several of the young people do to demo their prompt-writing skills on the AI app. 

In conclusion, we’re making progress, but it’s slow. There are so many opportunities for advertisers to break the mold in 2025 and really show older adults as, well, adults. Let’s just start there.

As we step into 2024, I’m excited about the future of project management. Looking back at my work for Assured Allies’ AgeAssured program, which helps older adults thrive at home safely and independently, I’ve witnessed the incredible innovation and productivity in our field that happens when diverse perspectives, technology, and clear communication come together. Here are five reasons why I’m optimistic about 2024.

1. Increasing diversity

2024 will drive forward the aspiration towards greater diversity and inclusion within our ranks. Our field needs talent from all backgrounds. By harnessing the unique talents and experiences of individuals from all backgrounds, we can unlock innovative solutions and build a stronger, more resilient community.

II. Better communication

Whether it’s fostering collaboration, aligning stakeholders, or simply avoiding misunderstandings, clear and concise communication is the backbone of every successful project. In 2024, project managers will continue to become masters of the art, inspiring and motivating those around us through transparent and impactful communication.

Personally, I hope to follow more consistently the communication strategies that I recommend to others. I will avoid jargon and technical terms that may not be understood by everyone; communicate important information as soon as possible rather than at the last minute; and start every meeting with a clear agenda. After each meeting, I’ll follow up as quickly as possible with meeting minutes to help people to stay on track.

III. Better tools

2024 will continue of course the long-standing trend of game-changing technology in our field. Project managers who pay attention and shape how their teams are using company collaboration and communication software to maximize efficiency and protect everyone’s focus time will always be ahead of the pack. This year, let’s continue to break down silos, explore new possibilities, and harness the power of data-driven decision-making across all of our technological platforms.

IV. No more burnout

Last but not least, let’s not forget to exhale. The days of the “workhorse” mentality are over. We can achieve incredible things without sacrificing well-being. By adopting smart tools and modeling expectations for productivity and how to measure it (hint, it’s not about hours facing a screen!), we can all help each other to excel without burnout.

V. Agility

In a world of constant change, the power to anticipate and address challenges proactively is vital. In 2024, project managers will step forward as agile leaders who embrace change as a catalyst for growth. The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, was an opportunity for many companies to reflect on what could be improved. At Assured Allies, we immediately embraced the change and used it to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies across the company, which enabled us to almost seamlessly transition to a remote work environment. After some trial and error, we gravitated to a set of tools best suited for our culture of interdisciplinary collaboration. 

As we leave 2023 behind, let’s leave behind the habits that hinder our progress. Instead, let’s embrace respectful dialogue, mindful communication, and collaborative problem-solving.

I look forward to a promising year ahead—a year of progress and inclusivity in our profession. May it bring us peace.

What’s in store for 2024? We gathered our top leaders, ear-to-the-grounders, and trusted mentor and futurist Adam Hanft to bring you our best predictions on two of the hot topics in our company wheelhouse, Successful Aging and the long-term care industry. Enjoy!

We’re long on long-term care insurance 

Accelerating trends

Trends already established will build momentum into 2024 and beyond. More states will experiment with a mandatory LTC employee tax to ensure broader coverage, and InsureTech innovation like our own NeverStop Wellness will continue to loosen what has been an industry-wide lockjam since the actuarial miscalculations of the1990s, by carving out new paths to profitability that serve the needs of business and consumers alike.

Sooner or later, supply follows demand

Given that 70% of all Americans will need some form of long-term care before they pass on, with an average cost of 250K, there will be a consumer rush to purchase long-term care Insurance. Whether that happens in 2024 is anyone’s guess, but sooner or later, it’s inevitable.

Must-have new wellness benefits

69% of employers offer wellness benefits, with 75% offering incentives to encourage uptake. Long-term care insurance and support for caregivers are both neglected benefit categories, and we predict that 2024 will be the year that employers recognize that they need to offer one or both to stay competitive and improve productivity. 

Marketers finally wake up to ageism—and move past it 

We’ve come such a long way since E-Trade’s ageist 2018 Superbowl commercial, and the tide will continue to turn towards age-positive advertising, building on momentum from Gillette’s Handle with Care ad in 2017 and Chevrolet’s 2023 holiday ad. More brands will wake up to the commercial potential for re-framing aging as a meaningful and aspirational life stage in order to successfully engage the 80 million U.S. adults turning 65 by 2030.

Boomers bow the culture—again

The year of grand-influencers

We’ve read about this phenomenon in the past, but we predict 2024 will see an explosion of an older generation finding fame and fortune on TikTok, with big brands starting to support and sponsor them. 

Older adults are…sexy?

Yesss. Celebrities like Lenny Kravitz (60 and sizzling on Esquire) and Martha Stewart (81 and gorgeous on Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue) are paving the way for ordinary people to own this territory, and more and more of them will. Why not? 

The pressure for more legislation, lots of it

Cover my robot please

With AI creating a new generation of “care robots” to help seniors keep living in their homes, expect to see massive pressure on Medicare to include this technology in basic coverage. Of course, the cost of this cyber-therapy will be more than offset by long-term reductions in health care costs.

Elder scam: something everyone can hate

With the GAO reporting that elder fraud has reached $2.9B – call it “ScAMERICA” – we expect to see this emotional issue bring together Democrats and Republicans in a bi-partisan reaction to the crisis.

Neighborhood, sweet neighborhood

With the increasing recognition that innovation is required to allow seniors to keep living at home, we predict that in 2024 cities across America will follow the recent steps of NYC to allow zoning changes that will allow affordable garages, studios, apartments and backyard cottages for an aging population.

Family supporting family

In some states, family members can be reimbursed for providing care. Given the reality that most seniors can’t afford in-home care, and that there are many family members who desperately want to help but can’t sacrifice the income, we expect that more and more states will recognize that this is a win-win and will begin a reimbursement model.  

Aging in the house of the future

By 2040, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 80 million U.S. citizens—almost a quarter of the population—will be over 80. Innovators like the McKechnie Family LIFE Home center—who are innovating the smart homes of the future—will garner increasing attention and funding in 2024.  

When it comes to increasing the odds of living a long and healthy life, Assured Allies has one of the most well-informed staffs around. It’s our mission to broaden access to Successful Aging, and with in-house operations, research, and actuarial teams examining every longevity trend and indicator out there, it’s almost impossible to work here without applying some of what we learn about healthy aging to ourselves. So we thought it would be fun to share with you the lifestyle changes some of us adopted in 2023. Enjoy!

Alexandra Pitkin-Morin, NeverStop Service Delivery Leader:  I started meditating daily for five minutes before bed to help lower stress. If I’m still ruminating about something during the day, the meditation helps me to let it go. It’s easier now to fall asleep and my stress level is lower too.

Erik Wenzel, Senior Actuary: In the last year I built a workout routine around becoming a better basketball player, much of which involves strength training to avoid injuries. I used to suffer a lot from back, knee and ankle problems, but now I can play basketball twice a week with no problems at all. It feels great to see how I’m steadily improving.

I also used to wake up in the middle of the night with insomnia, and found that practicing intentional gratitude is a reliable way to fall back to sleep. 

Daniella Segal, Deputy General Counsel: My husband and I cut way down on sugar to set a good example for my son once he started eating solids. To minimize his sugar consumption for as long as possible, we started cutting back on it in all our cooking and baking.

What did we learn? Using half the amount of sugar called for is more than enough! I also started reading nutrition labels while shopping and discovered that there are always good alternatives with less or no added sugar. My husband and I feel healthier and better on the lower sugar diet, a bonus.

Larry Nisenson, Chief Growth Officer: I started intermittent fasting (the 16/8 plan) last January and found it to be really easy after the first few days. I also restrict my carbs (which is MUCH harder for me) but all in all, it’s been a net positive. I feel less bloated and healthier. My goal is longevity for sure but my more immediate goal is weight management, which helps keep my activity level up (since i have a bum knee).

Marissa Badler, Senior Manager, New Ally Success: I started using Noom this year. It has been hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a toddler and I was getting frustrated and wanted to make a change. For the first couple of weeks, I was excited and really into it, but since it is time intensive and my life is crazy, I haven’t been able to keep up with it as much as I’d like. I saw a little progress in the beginning, but not as much as I wanted and I got discouraged.

I’d like to try again, but the holidays are a challenging time, so I think I’ll wait until January even though I’m not a big one for New Years Resolutions. I’ve learned to be gentle with myself. If this isn’t the right time in my life for weight loss to be a top priority, I know I will come back to it later. 

Anna Annecca, Clinical Ops Team Lead: I use sunscreen daily now! That was a win.

Katharine de Baun, Senior Marketing Manager: I started regularly eating fermented foods, typically adding a few tablespoons of kimchi or fermented beets to my luncheon salad and indulging in a small container of coffee-flavored (but no caffeine!) whole kefir yogurt for dessert at night. My goal was to improve my microbiome for better digestive health, and I’ve definitely noticed an improvement. I plan to continue this habit for the rest of my life, which has many health benefits including improved metabolism, a stronger immune system, and a better anti-inflammatory response. I might even start fermenting my own vegetables one day. 

Morgan Pichel, Senior Ally Specialist: In the last year I decided to put myself first and focus on my overall health and wellness. I started being more mindful about the foods I was putting into my body, and made sure to fuel myself with a healthy, well balanced diet. I also made it a priority to get up every morning before work and get some sort of movement in, whether it was a quick walk with the dogs or 30 minutes in the gym. The walking pad I invested in helped me stay accountable and get my steps in during the workday, too!

Ryan Bailey, Clinical Researcher: When I discovered last May that my cholesterol was on the border of needing to be medically managed, I began intermittent fasting from 6 pm to 10 am to reduce my  LDL levels. 

I won’t know whether my LDL has changed until my annual check up, but I’ve noticed other changes. I don’t feel as hungry as I thought I would in the mornings. I’m more mindful of what I eat, choosing more nutritious foods. And I’ve drastically decreased mindless snacking, which I’m especially prone to when bored or stressed. Maybe to compensate, I’ve increased my coffee consumption in the mornings. Some studies show increased coffee consumption has heart healthy benefits and others show decreased memory consolidation.

Driving is not just a form of transportation; it symbolizes independence and freedom, the ability to live our lives when and where we like. As our bodies get older, however, driving can become more difficult or dangerous, and when issues arise, it’s important to have open and informed conversations about problems and solutions that meet everyone’s needs.

As many older drivers are either unaware of how their driving abilities have changed or resistant to talking about it, these conversations are often fraught for caregivers and family members. Caregivers can feel like they alone need to step in and act when they perceive a problem, partly because as a society we have many laws and advice about keeping our youngest drivers safe on the road, but hardly any national guidelines for older drivers.

In this article we aim to inform you as a caregiver about the most common ways in which aging affects driving ability, so you know what to look out for. For older adults, understanding that aging-related driving difficulties are common (and often solvable) can also be reassuring. Last but not least, I share several strategies that we share with our AgeAssured members and families that help make discussing the topic of driving easier and more productive.  

Top three ways aging affects driving

Vision: Most people know about the need for reading glasses after age 40 or so, but aging affects vision in other ways that are less commonly understood and that affect driving. Peripheral vision (seeing out of the side of your eye), visual acuity (blurriness), astigmatisms (light glare at night), and ocular motor function (how our eyes move) can all be impacted by age, chronic conditions, or other diseases.  As a result, annual vision screenings are critical for older drivers. 

Proprioception / Nerve Damage: Chronic conditions such as diabetes can impact both sensation and proprioception (or knowledge of where one is located in space) in our feet. The change can be very subtle, and most people do not even realize they have lost sensation. Obviously, if you lack understanding of where your feet are while driving, it can be very dangerous, leading to improper braking or use of the gas pedal. Ask your primary care provider to check for any foot-related sensation problems at your annual visit.

Cognition: As we age, changes in cognition can impact driving abilities. Memory, attention, and reaction times may decline, affecting decision-making on the road. Changes in any of these areas are important to be aware of and discuss with your doctor. In many cases, working with an occupational therapist can help you adapt and ensure safety while maintaining your independence. 

Tips for successful conversations 

As an occupational therapist, I have had the driving conversation many times with my clients and my own relatives. Some older adults were incredibly upset and offended while others were understanding and ready for the change. Over the years, I’ve discovered a few strategies for making this discussion a constructive collaboration instead of a bitter conflict or forced take-away of someone’s keys. 

Show respect. Many older adults perceive the idea that they should stop driving as an insult. It is important to always start the conversation respectfully and recognize that this is challenging for them to consider. Give them the space to process and react organically. Sometimes these conversations may need to happen over multiple occasions. 

Start the conversation early. It’s much easier if you start this conversation before you need to have it. For example, after my family navigated the end of my grandmother’s driving due to Alzheimer’s, I had an open conversation with my parents on how they wanted their eventual cessation of driving to happen. Both of my parents affirmed that their top priority was to maintain their independence and safety. As long as there was a healthy Uber budget, they just wanted a clear heads-up that it was time to turn over the keys. Ten years after that conversation, we gave my father the heads up, and he happily gave his keys to us: our values were already aligned.

Don’t make it personal. Keep the conversation objective and steer away from blame. It’s easy for an older adult to feel offended and/or threatened if you say, “Dad your memory is too bad, you keep getting lost, I am taking away your keys.” Instead, try “Dad, I have noticed that your memory is starting to impact your safety while you drive. Let’s explore some other transportation options together to ensure you are able to get to where you need to go safely.” 

Focus on solutions. The biggest resistance to driving cessation is, naturally, the fear that you’ll no longer be able to get where you want or need to go. Luckily, there are many services around that can support your loved ones to maintain independence while keeping them safe on the road. Do your research upfront on what’s available—whether public transportation, local senior services, or ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft.

Don’t be the expert. Try and have an outside authority bear the hard news so you are free to be an ally. Otherwise, you may have little defense in the heat of the moment against the critique “you don’t know what you’re talking about!” Ask your primary care physician for an occupational therapy driving evaluation. A certified expert can provide you and your loved one an objective assessment of their driving safety, as well as some possible rehabilitative recommendations to extend their independence. 

Thank you for being someone who cares about safety on the road. I hope this article helps you and your family navigate what is often a dreaded conversation in a positive and effective way. 


  • Find an OT Driving Rehabilitation Specialist:
  • Gogo Grandparent -Gogo Grandparent is a service that enables adults to easily access ride-sharing services like Uber and lyft through a phone call instead of using a smartphone application

How to access: or call 855-464-6872

As you go about your day-to-day caregiving responsibilities, you’ve probably wondered whether there’s an easier way to get things done. Maybe you’re sitting in traffic to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy during rush hour for the second time that week. Or maybe one of your paid caregivers needs to reschedule and you find yourself texting with three different people, trying to coordinate a solution on the fly.  

Is there an easier way? Yes, often there is. Consider this article a cheat sheet on how today’s tech solutions can help you manage all of the twists and turns in your caregiving journey and take at least some of the tasks off your to-do list. We also provide a short list of some of the vetted resources we send our NeverStop and AgeAssured members in the righthand column.

Widen their social circle

It can be a heavy burden when an older adult relies almost exclusively upon you for all of their social needs, especially if they make it known that they feel lonely. And even though they may want to rely solely on you, it’s not an ideal situation for the older adult, either. Diverse relationships, including ones where they are not always on the receiving end, form a much stronger social foundation.

Going online can open up new worlds for older adults, particularly if they are housebound. Any adult with reliable high-speed internet and basic digital literacy can explore online classes, interest-based and/or identity-based communities, games, and social media. Online volunteering and virtual participation in local events from the comfort of their living room can also lead to in-real-life meetings with people in their community.

An active social life helps to protect mental and physical health by boosting the immune system, protecting against chronic illness, and reducing cognitive decline. Knowing that your older adult can rely upon, interact with, and be entertained by other people besides you is a priceless comfort that can reduce your stress level as a caregiver, too.

Offload routine tasks

There are many apps and services that can help you delegate routine caregiving tasks like grocery shopping, preparing meals, and driving to and from errands and appointments. Groceries and meals can be ordered online and delivered. Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft or researching free or low-cost local transportation services can take care of some of the driving you do to doctor appointments and errands. 

For adults who are unable to go online, Gogo Grandparent is a wonderful option. It’s a phone-based service that can interface with all of our recommended apps and more. Get started on their website or call 855-464-6872.

Recommended resources

For getting connected online:

  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP): Over 100 free online games including solitaire, mahjongg, sudoku, and 10×10.
  • Academic Earth: Thousands of pre-recorded university lectures and courses across a variety of subjects.
  • Senior Planet Free live courses on wellness, fitness, technology, and more offered via Zoom video conferencing platform.
  • Volunteer Match: Find virtual or local volunteering opportunities that suit your schedule, skills, and interest.

For transportation help:


For restaurant delivery:

Uber Eats

For grocery delivery:

Costco Grocery
Whole Foods

For care coordination:

Caring Village

Manage a team of caregivers

If you’ve been coordinating help with friends and family and paid caregivers over the phone with a paper and pencil, you might be delighted to learn how online tools can make your life a whole lot easier. Common features of care coordination apps include shared calendars to track activities and appointments, task requests and individual assignments, and organized group messaging. Having everything in one place not only provides an invaluable track record of your caregiving but often provides more emotional support for caregivers, too.

Manage medications

Refilling, reminding, checking, and re-checking multiple medications is challenging for anyone, let alone for the caregiver of an older adult who has cognitive issues. 

Apps and technology are immensely helpful here. Medication management apps and smart pillboxes can help with maintaining medication logs, medication scheduling and reminders, drug interaction detection, and refill or appointment notifications. For caregivers, many apps and devices have medication management features built in that can help caregivers coordinate communication among themselves and establish caregiving duties.

Setting up prescriptions to be refilled and delivered from a local or online pharmacy pays dividends for months and years to come. If getting to the pharmacy to pick up medications is difficult for someone, they can access online and app-based services to have medications delivered to their homes through the mail or directly from a retail pharmacy. The following flow might help you figure out the best solution for your situation.

If you are already using a local or retail pharmacy: Call them and ask if they offer home delivery. Many retail pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart, do. Also ask If they can pre-sort your medications for you.

Consider an online pharmacy:  Amazon Pharmacy (855-745-5725) is a great option, especially for ongoing prescriptions. They can ship 90-day supplies to you. They can also pre-sort your medications: Ask about their “Pillpack by Amazon” service. 

Still having trouble? Contact your health plan. Many health plans contract with pharmacies to provide mail-order services. Call your health plan’s member services phone number to see what they offer.

For our annual holiday gift blog this year, we are handing the mic to two of our most experienced Allies, experts on aging who are an integral part of the teams that help thousands of our members thrive into their third acts and beyond. Our Allies know firsthand which devices are most popular, enhance members’ lives, and brighten their days year-round. Without further ado, let’s hear it from them!

Thrive-at-Home Gifts

By Morgan Pichel. With a background in case management and gerontology, Morgan is an Ally in our AgeAssured service, which helps long-term care insurance policyholders aged 65-85+ to live independently wherever they call home. 

What I love most about my job is that I get to wake up every day and make a difference in people’s lives, no matter how big or small. I’m happy to spread the news about some of the most popular items we send to our members, which mean so much to them. All make great gift ideas for the older adult in your life, and they’re all fairly low-cost, too!

Long-handled reacher: When members have difficulty bending or reaching, I send them one of these. Members have told me the reacher is a “godsend,” especially for picking things up off the floor. One member even reported that he had one in every room of his house, and stopped worrying about falling as a result. $30 for two on Amazon

Nightlights: Whether battery-operated or plug-in, motion-activated nightlights make a huge difference in our members’ lives. Members report that they feel much more safe getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom now that dark hallways and passages are automatically illuminated. $29.99 for 4-pack on Amazon

Lightweight vacuum: For older adults who have been lugging around a heavy, clunky vacuum for years, a lightweight vacuum is a huge upgrade. The Eureka we send our members is economical, weighs under three pounds, and maneuvers easily into hard-to-reach areas like couches and corners. Members report they actually look forward to doing their housework because their new vacuum is so easy and convenient to use. $39.99 for the Eureka on Amazon

Adjustable long-handled shoehorn: Members who have difficulty dressing their lower body and/or balance concerns love this adjustable shoe horn. They can continue to wear the shoes they love and put them on easily. $17.99 on Amazon

Pillbox: This easy-to-open seven-day pill organizer is a big hit for our members, allowing them to easily manage and track their medications. A few members have told me that they loved it so much they purchased additional ones! $10.39 on Amazon

Long-handled sponge/brush: Members who have difficulty reaching parts of their body when bathing really appreciate how this device helps them stay clean and fresh. Both the sponge and the brush feel good and stimulate the skin (the bristles are neither too soft nor too abrasive) and the curved handle is easy to hold and maneuver. $9.99 on Amazon

NeverStop Wellness Gifts

By Kasaundra Bennett, Kasaundra is an Ally in NeverStop, a wellness rewards program carried by select financial institutions to help their clients aged 55-75 prepare for a long and healthy life beyond retirement.

I love using my coaching skills and expertise to support our members on their wellness journeys. Here at NeverStop, it’s very rewarding to see our members reach their goals and discover the potential they have to age successfully long past retirement. Here are some gift ideas that our members really love, devices and apps that help them go further than they ever imagined! 

Fitbit Charge 5: Our members love using this top-of-the-line non-smartwatch, which they receive as a complimentary welcome gift in our NeverStop Wellness program. Members use their Fitbit to track their activity, heart rate, sleep patterns, and more. It’s a great choice to support a loved one in your life with the gift of good health. You can also purchase a Fitbit premium subscription to go with the watch; our members get a two-year subscription. It provides access to several online workout videos, nutrition information, recipes, and more. $149.95 on Amazon

Calm app: Our member’s favorite Fitbit premium app is Calm, which helps with stress management and improved sleep. They love the app’s guided meditations, sleep stories, and relaxing soundscapes. Calm can be purchased separately; you don’t need a Fitbit watch. $69.99/year for a Calm gift subscription

Apple Watch: Many members use the Apple Watch to support their health and wellness goals. Like Fitbit, Apple Watch allows you to track your steps, activity, heart rate, and sleep.  Some Apple watches also come with fall detection capabilities. from $399 on

Hello Fresh: this popular meal delivery service takes the stress out of meal planning and preparation and saves you time. Fresh ingredients are delivered right to your door with instructions on how to prepare a delicious dish. This is a great way to get started on your health and wellness goals in this busy world we live in! Members have also found that this service helps with their weight loss goals. Gift cards from $75 and up at Hello Fresh