October 13, 2023

Leonard Florence Center for Living Wins LeadingAge Program Innovation Award!

Leading Age Massachusetts, a trade association dedicated to supporting the work of n0t-for-profit aging service providers, recently held its 2023 Annual Achievement Awards. The Leonard Florence Center for Living won in the Program Innovation category! This prestigious award was given for the Center’s revolutionary Outward Bound program, which enables our ventilator dependent residents to continue to be part of their families by attending events outside of our residence.

“This unique program enables nursing home residents, including those living on ventilators, to continue to attend and enjoy events such as concerts, sporting games, fishing trips, movies, restaurants, and beach outings,” remarked Chelsea Jewish Lifecare COO Betsy Mullen. “Equally as important, Outward Bound allows them to continue to be a part of their families and family events, such as birthdays, weddings, children’s graduations and even family cookouts. The goal is to take the residents to places that are meaningful to them and that were part of their lives. Added Betsy, “Quite simply, the program allows them to enjoy living.”

Yari Velez, Special Projects Director  at LFCL, coordinated over 35 trips for the ventilator residents since the first of the year. “This is a one-of-a-kind program that allows residents to embrace their best lives regardless of their physical limitations,” noted Yari. “The sparkle in the residents’ eyes is proof that mobility does not hinder their sense of adventure.” Added Yari, “Outward Bound is a truly beautiful program!”

The best way to measure the impact of this program is by the feedback received from the residents and their families. For example, Denise V. is mom to son David, a 38 year old man who has been on a ventilator for the past several years due to a spinal cord injury. Denise summed up what the program means to both her and David. “Dave was always so active—running, playing sports, fishing, biking—he never stopped. The fact that he can now participate in the activities he once loved makes us so happy. Recently he went fishing, attended a Celtics game and went to a 50 Cent concert. All I can say is that he is living the best life he can. For that, I am so very grateful.”

The award was presented on October 11 at the LeadingAge 69th Annual Meeting of the Membership. Betsy Mullen and Yari Velez accepted this prestigious award on behalf of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, with many staff members present. According to LeadingAge, innovation is the “realization of a new or creative idea that has the power to transform the aging services field.” That’s exactly what the Outward Bound was created to do!