It’s Time to Recognize the “Women of Distinction” in Senior Care

May 16, 2019 Lorraine McMeekin

We don’t often have the opportunity to expand our support for a company-wide initiative into an industry-wide cause. So we’re especially proud to bring much-deserved attention to the many extraordinary women in senior care by serving as the exclusive Platinum Sponsor for McKnight’s first Women of Distinction program. This industry-first initiative was created to recognize the significant contributions women are making to the long-term post-acute (LTPAC) and senior care industries. When announcing the program last December, John O’Connor, editorial director, vice president and associate publisher of McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, said, “When it comes to senior care, women do most of the heavy lifting — literally and figuratively. Yet in many ways, they are the forgotten heroes of this field. That needs to change.” With the recognition that this program will bestow on women throughout the LTPAC and senior care ranks, we believe that change has already begun.

Shining the Spotlight Makes Sense Now

This initiative is seizing the moment to call attention to our industry, as part of the overall conversation about the status of women in our worldwide economy. While women comprise the majority of the LTPAC and senior care workforce, particularly in direct care roles, the gender balance in leadership roles remains disproportionate. We hope that by acknowledging Women of Distinction at multiple levels – Rising Stars, Hall of Honor, and Lifetime Achievement – we can set an example for other industries looking to both celebrate and raise awareness of women’s contributions throughout their careers.

“We are passionate about our commitment to the LTPAC and senior care industry, and have great respect for the women who have helped to shape its past, present and future,” said Dave Wessinger, co-founder and president, PointClickCare. “Working with McKnight’s to call attention to these leaders, and their advocacy for patients and residents requiring a great deal of care, is a responsibility we are eager to share.”

We also believe that recognizing and elevating women may help overcome the predicted workforce shortage. In its 2018 report, “Growing a Strong Direct Care Workforce: A Recruitment and Retention Guide for Employers,” consulting and services firm PHI noted that from 2016 to 2060, the number of adults aged 65 and older will nearly double from 49 to 95 million. More than half of them will require long-term care services at some point and for an average of two years. However, during the same time period, the number of adults aged 18 to 64 – those most likely to care for the aging – will increase by only 14 percent. Plus, the report pointed out that conservative estimates of turnover across the long-term care sector range from 45 to 66 percent, and it costs an estimated $2,200 to replace a nursing assistant or home care worker. We believe that by providing women with mentorship and a career path, we can improve the overall retention rate of employees. At the same time, we strive to generate interest in the LTPAC industry among up-and-coming professionals, our industry leaders of tomorrow.

Delighted to Honor Deserving Colleagues

We are particularly thrilled that so many of the inaugural Women of Distinction represent PointClickCare customer organizations, including Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, Lynne Katzmann, Ph.D. As Founder and CEO of Bloomfield, NJ-based Juniper Communities, Lynne heads the only woman-founded, owned and led business among the top 40 national assisted living companies. With initiatives like McKnight’s Women of Distinction program, we’re optimistic that she won’t be an “only” for very long.

PointClickCare Talks the Talk and Walks the Walk

The Women of Distinction effort reflects the core values of PointClickCare. Our company supports diversity in all its forms, including the advancement of women in the workforce and in leadership roles. We’ve created a working atmosphere that encourages growth, embraces change, and challenges our employees. Knowing that our work makes a meaningful impact on millions of lives, we are committed to being a part of the change we want to see. PointClickCare has been among Canada’s best managed companies for six years in a row…and that honor can be partially attributed to the widely varied workforce and leaders we have assembled.

“The jury is in on the benefits of diversity – organizations with balanced leadership teams simply perform better,” added Cheryl Alden, vice president of marketing, PointClickCare. “As an innovator dedicated to solving the global challenges of senior health care, we understand that a workforce designed to bring the best ideas to the forefront, and include a range of different perspectives, is critical to achieve the best results. Leadership doesn’t just come from leaders, so we are thrilled to extend our support to the women driving innovation and challenging the status quo from all levels across the senior health and wellness industry.”

We’re Committed for the Long Run

We see this week’s awards ceremony in Chicago as the launch pad for an ongoing and very necessary endeavor. We will continue to work with McKnight’s through the year on initiatives to highlight the amazing contributions that the inaugural honorees are making to the industry. We also intend to create visibility around the impact that other women are having within their own organizations. As further evidence of our commitment to supporting LTPAC women, PointClickCare is a member of the Women Leadership initiative formed last fall by Argentum, a national association of senior living providers.

We at PointClickCare are grateful that our Platinum Sponsorship of this year’s program enables us to support the people who rarely receive the recognition they deserve. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of a movement the LTPAC industry so desperately needs. Keep your eye on this year’s Women of Distinction, and those to come. To quote American philanthropist Melinda Gates, “When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else.”

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