2019 SCHA Awards
Outstanding Executive Director

View Other Nominees in this Category

Lauren Zimmerman-Cook Lauren Zimmerman-Cook

Lauren Zimmerman-Cook

Position: CEO

Organization: AEC Living


List your nominee's experience in Senior Care.
Lauren has over 20 years experience working in senior care and is a licensed California Nursing Home Administrator. She has been in the senior care business her whole life; in fact, she was almost born at the Waters Edge Nursing Home in Alameda, California, owned by the Zimmerman family. Lauren followed her parents around the Waters Edge Nursing Home for her first eight years and as a preteen lived at the Lodge, an assisted living residence, where having meals with the residents and listening in awe to their remarkable life stories helped shape her life.

Lauren began her official work at The Lodge while in high school where she spent much of her time in the accounting department. When she went off to college, she continued to spend summers and winters helping out at the various care facilities that make up AEC Living; her work ranged from accounting to the instillation of the medical record program. After obtaining her Masters Degree in accounting from the University of Texas, Austin, Lauren returned home to run accounting for senior living communities and did a stint as the Assistant Administrator at the Waters Edge Nursing Home. Lauren later went off to law school at Tulane in New Orleans and received her LLM from New York University Law School, but not before helping to plan and open AES Therapy & Fitness, a Medicare-approved senior-only therapy and wellness company.

In addition to working with her family first as CFO and now CEO for AEC Living, which now encompasses two assisted living residences, a cohousing community for 55+, a home care agency, and a senior therapy and wellness business, Lauren has played a major role in the formation of Elders Village, a 501(c)3 nonprofit focused on helping seniors stay independent through education and community, and serving on the Board of Directors for Alameda Meals on Wheels. Most recently Lauren, began publishing Alameda Senior Magazine, an informative magazine focused on seniors in Alameda and the surrounding SF Bay Area community.

Describe how your Nominee has exceeded his or her Job Description, becoming a hero to you or others. Provide an example or as much detail as possible of the things that they do that go above and beyond their job description.
Lauren Zimmerman Cook and Stephen Zimmerman are the brother and sister team behind AEC Living, a group of independently operated senior living communities, a 55+ cohousing community, a home health agency and a Medicare-approved rehabilitation agency. Lauren and Stephen strongly believe in the continuum of care, emphasizing the “care” portion of what they do. The duo’s attention is always focused on customer service and prolonging peoples’ independence. They are helping the community achieve this is through a number of free resources and free targeted annual events that are focused on improving senior health, wellness and happiness.

Elders Village Talks
Lauren and Stephen founded the Elders Village Talks (EVT), a series of fun, participatory and educational classes for seniors around nutrition, fitness, etc. These classes, which are taught by industry professionals, are free, available to the general public and are designed for arming the aging population with essential knowledge on how to approach issues associated with aging.

Annual Wellness Carnival
Lauren and Stephen host an annual Wellness Carnival, a free public event that features a wide range of activities for seniors 55+ and is designed to promote health and wellbeing. Health experts facilitate activities and offer tips on how seniors can introduce lifestyle changes to ensure healthy aging.

Publishers of Alameda Senior Magazine
As advocates of senior health and wellness, Lauren and Stephen edit and publish “Alameda Senior Magazine,” a free publication distributed to Alameda residents. It focuses on important issues affecting today’s seniors. Feature story topics historically have covered medicare & hospice, talking with an aging parent, and sex after Sixty. The magazine’s writers are all subject matter experts.

Additional Philanthropic Pursuits
In addition to being community advocates for senior health and wellness, Lauren and Stephen are both actively involved in broader community programs. For example, Lauren is the treasurer and Stephen is the president of the Alameda Rotary Club. Lauren is the volunteer treasurer for Alameda’s Boys and Girls Club and is on the board of directors at Girls Inc. Stephen is the vice president of Friends of Scouting (part of the Boy Scouts of America). Both of them volunteer every week for Alameda Meals on Wheels.

Lauren and Stephen’s passion for facilitating senior wellness inspired them to create more resources for seniors and continually build community within the aging population of Alameda. Because of their efforts and what they have built, Alameda’s senior population has access to professional resources that make aging in Alameda a more positive process.