2019 SCHA Awards
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Organization: AEC Living
List your nominee's experience in Senior Care.
Stephen is a licensed RFFE Administrator with over 15 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry. He became the COO of AEC Living in April 2014 and has led multiple program developments including AES Therapy and Fitness, AEC Home Care, Phoenix Commons and more. Stephen has a unique perspective of the industry; he grew up watching his parents, Chris and Darnelle, manage the Waters Edge Nursing Home, The Lodge, and Elders Inn, and when he was four years old, Stephen moved into the Lodge with his family and lived there for nine months while his parents worked full time to get operations up and running. Because of this, Stephen developed an affinity for seniors and healthcare workers who dedicate their life to caring for others.
Stephen is passionate about aging and the senior healthcare industry, specifically developing models of care that promote independence and sustainability. Immediately after graduating from UC Davis, Stephen began working at AEC Living. To get a better understanding of the organization and the industry, Stephen worked in various roles in the wellness programs, activities programs, and admissions. Stephen then obtained his RCFE Administrator license and began managing the Lodge while publishing the Alameda Senior Magazine with his sister. Wanting to gain more knowledge of the psycho-social aspects of aging, Stephen obtained his Masters in Gerontology from the University of Southern California where he graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. The knowledge gained from his time at USC has led him to research and pursue innovative solutions to issues surrounding seniors and aging communities in his role as COO at AEC Living.
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.
Conclusion: 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.