Annenberg Foundation Executive Director Cinny Kennard participated in an ongoing thought leaderhsip series on COVID-19 and the Future of Aging from the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging and Next Avenue. She gave perspectives on the acute challenges of serving the aging population and how the forthcoming Wallis Annenberg GenSpace plans to mobilize and innovate in this area.
How do you foresee COVID-19 impacting philanthropic institutions committed to supporting healthy aging in the years ahead?
We all need to adjust to a new normal, and one prime example is planning for post-pandemic community spaces focused on healthy longevity and aging. The traditional model of an older adult day center has been turned upside down with COVID-19.
This “new normal” deserves a new location.
Through the pandemic, the Annenberg Foundation has continued its work to create a new kind of center to respond to the rampant isolation and loneliness among aging adults in Los Angeles. The Wallis Annenberg GenSpace will reimagine what life for them can look like — worlds away from sterile nursing homes and small, dark, and lonely apartments.
It will be a neighborhood hub for forging new relationships, because social connection is what helps us stay vibrant, extends life and makes it worth living. It will emphasize creativity and learning, because that’s what keeps minds fertile and functioning at every age. Programs will be streamed virtually to ensure that those who cannot come in person have access.