Episode 25 of the More than Health Care: A Community Health Conversation podcast is now available on the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ website and on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. Every other week, a new episode uncovers keys to collaboration and holistic health in pursuit of improved health outcomes and lower costs for all.

A belief in focusing on wellness, coupled with a passion for working with older adults, has shaped Jane Bavineau’s professional career. And as the vice president of Health and Wellness for BakerRipley in Houston, she is staying at the forefront of creating growth and development programs for the senior population.

Over the last several years, Bavineau has seen the landscape change regarding health and wellness for older adults. In the past, her focus would have been on elder-related matters like chronic disease, dementia, depression, isolation, and loneliness. Now, after a conversation-style inquiry process with older individuals, it became evident to her that attention should shift to wellness, “Older people were determined to continue to grow and develop, and they were focused on their own physical wellness and their social engagement. And they clearly understood that it was that they needed a driving purpose in their lives,” said Bavineau. “So, my whole thinking about the role of an organization, and quite frankly of my leadership, shifted from the frail older person who needed services to the older person that really was committed to their own growth and development.”

That insight led to Baker Ripley’s embedding of opportunities within its services and senior centers that allowed participants to feel a sense of purpose through making positive contributions. “A field trip used to be driving around the  the rich neighborhoods of Houston and looking at the blooming flowers. … Now they go on a field trip, and they make sandwiches for a homeless shelter. So, it was about taking the work we're already doing and creating new opportunities for them to contribute and give back,” explains Bavineau.

The elements that provide well-being to seniors that Bavineau is incorporating into Baker Ripley’s programs reflect a growing understanding that the needs of older adults go beyond medical concerns. Greater socialization, purpose-building activities, intergenerational contact, and the ability to continue to grow as a person, no matter what the age, contribute to a sense of well-being. And Bavineau is sure to continue innovating as her passion for working with older adults continues.

Listen to Jane Bavineau describe her focus on wellness coupled with her passion for working with older adults in Episode 25 of the  More than Health Care Podcast  available through the Alliance website or subscribe on the Apple Podcast, Google Play, or Spotify apps

Related Resources

  • Snapshots Video: A Skeptic's Guide to Appreciative InquiryDespite her protests, Jane Bavineau and her colleagues from Sheltering Arms, which had recently merged with BakerRipley, began using appreciative inquiry to learn more about aging and older adults. Instead of asking seniors about their needs and the challenges of growing old, they asked questions like, “What brings you joy?” The responses were eye opening! In this video, Jane shares how appreciative inquiry changed her perspective on aging and how this approach can be used to reframe any personal or community challenge. 
  • Action Steps and Resources for Developing a More Age-Inclusive, Intergenerational OrganizationThis toolkit helps organizations prioritize their efforts to create an age-inclusive workplace and offers ready-to-use checklists, fact sheets, and strategies.

About the Podcast

While many are realizing that collaboration and holistic approaches are the solution, the health care and human services sectors are struggling to find the right formula to realize the full potential. The More than Health Care podcast is designed to help organizations overcome barriers to partnerships resulting from cultural differences, financial pressures, and rules and regulations. 

In addition to showcasing inspiring examples of integration from across the country, featured experts will expose the myths, misconceptions, and shortcomings of efforts to address the social determinants of health through collaboration across sectors. 

This podcast is presented by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Ascentria Care Alliance, and Beech Acres Parenting Center. Cohosts Jill Huynh, vice president of new business development at Beech Acres, and Tim Johnstone, executive vice president of community services at Ascentria, work at the intersection of health and human services, bringing the expertise and practical experience to uncover key takeaways for improving health care and human services integration. 

Subscribe on  Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify

Learn more about the Alliance's efforts to improve population health and well-being.