Listen, Learn, Explore

In 2021, Pioneer Network launched an all-new educational program, “Listen, Learn, Explore”, pairing a recorded audio podcast with a virtual-variation of a learning circle. Starting with the podcast, listeners have an opportunity to hear unique insights on a variety of topics from thought leaders in the field of resident-directed care. Following the podcast, Pioneer Network invites listeners to register for an interactive program where they will have the opportunity to join others in a deeper, live conversation with the podcast guest speaker.

We hope that you will join us for season 2 of Listen, Learn, Explore.


Episode 10: The Power of Person-Centered Care- An Approach that Offers Help During a Staffing Crisis and Compassionate Support for LGBTQ Elders

This Episode is a podcast only

Kim Warchol, an occupational therapist and the President and Founder of Dementia Care Specialists at Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) joins Penny Cook to discuss the power of person-centered care, especially for those who identify as LGBTQ+. CPI is a member of the Pioneer Partner Network. Kim and Penny talk about how to empower the broader team (families, clients/residents and staff working together) to work together to support our elders and those living with dementia and focus on their behavioral and emotional wellness.


Current and past episodes are available on the following services:
Anchor Spotify
Apple Podcasts Google Podcasts

Episode 9:  Exploring Humanitude® – Bringing the Staff’s Person Directed Care Skills to the Next Level

     This Episode is a podcast only

Join Joanne Rader in a conversation with João Partel Araujo and Yves Gineste in a conversation about the Gineste-Marescotti® Care Methodology, also known as Humanitude®.  In this podcast, you will learn the story of what inspired Humanitude, what it is all about, and how the team from Humanitude is working to bring it to the US.
A multimodal care methodology for any vulnerable dependent person, such as those living with dementia, post-stroke dependency, physical or mental disabilities, etc. It is comprised of more than 150 care techniques based on four pillars: gaze, speech, touch and verticality.
Pioneer Network is pleased to have Joanne, João and his colleague Franck DeVivie present “An Introduction to Humanitude® Care” (Concurrent Session D4) , at Pioneer Network’s annual conference in Denver July 27-30 for a session.

Episode 8:  Becoming a Learning Organization

Being a Learning Organization is key to growing and supporting a person-directed culture. Educators Anna Ortigara, Marla DeVries, Tim Knight, Jacquie Hurt, Carrie Chiusano, and John Hobday have developed four outstanding sessions for the Pioneer Network 2022 Pioneering a New Culture of Aging Conference being held in July, but we can’t wait until July for the learning to begin.  And so, in this podcast, they will share some insights including challenges organizations face as they create and deliver education, why supporting Learning & Development is so critical, learning as a process versus an event, and other ideas to help you create a learning organization .
CLICK HERE to watch the Learning Circle Discussion


Pioneer Network Conference Session
Being a Learning Organization (Concurrent Session A1)
Learning as a Process, Not an Event:  The Life Cycle of Learning (Concurrent Session B1)
Creative On-Line Learning Methods (Concurrent Session C1)
Today’s Learners and the Adult Learning Model (Concurrent Session D1)


Episode 7:  Creating Joy at Work


Join Jessica McCracken and Katie Wade from Creative Spark, a Front Porch program, as they share with listeners how to apply a creative, joyful lens to the work you do! Together through discussion and interactive exercises, they’ll guide you as we create, connect, and share. And we won’t forget to throw in a dash of humor!

CLICK HERE to watch our Learning Circle Discussion

Resources referenced in the discussion:
Tips for Creating Joy at Work
Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Joy in Work
The Lightmakers Manifesto by Karen Walrond
Creative Aging San Francisco
Image of Self Exhibition

Episode 6:  WHY Person-Directed Care: A Message to Gerontology Students…and More!

This Episode is a podcast only

Leslie Pedtke is currently working as an adjunct professor at Maryville University in St. Louis, Mo.  A long-time advocate of person-directed care (you may be familiar with her book, What Living as a Resident Care Teach Long-Term Care Staff), Leslie was taken aback when 13 students in her Gerontology class shared that they felt that although person-directed care was a wonderful idea, it was not realistic, especially given the climate of the staffing shortage in healthcare.

It seemed to Leslie that she had some “explaining to do”!  And so, Leslie invited Pioneer Network staff members, Penny Cook, President & CEO and Joan Devine, Director of Education, to join her in sharing with her students just what Person-Directed care is – and how it can and needs to be a part of the future.

The lessons and stories shared in the interview will hopefully convince Leslie’s students that person-directed care is real and can thrive, even in today’s climate, and we hope they will also inspire others to continue their work in growing person-centered cultures.

Blogs referenced in the interview:
Is Person-Centered Care Forsaken in the Midst of COVID-19?
Culture Change or Person-Directed Care:  What is the Real Journey?

Episode 5: Resident Voice – Direct from the Boardroom

In the culture change movement, we talk about the resident voice – the value, how it needs to be heard in all aspects of our work. And who better to share their expertise on this topic than a resident who has actually been a member of her community’s board of directors.

In our latest LLE, we’d like to introduce you to Jan Spalding, a resident at John Knox Village in Pompano Beach, FL, and former member of their Board of Directors who will share her thoughts about resident involvement and her experiences as a member of her community’s Board of Directors.

You’re also invited to join Jan, along with members of the John Knox Village Administrative team, Gerry Stryker and Monica McFee, to further explore this topic.

CLICK HERE to watch our Learning Circle discussion

Episode 4: Reimagining Culture Change – Where Do We Go Now? Providing Person-Directed Care Beyond the Pandemic

Conversations and considerations of COVID-19 have and continue to dominate a large part of our long-term care communities, often dictating how decisions are made. From dining to visitation, just about every aspect of life in these communities has been affected and changed by the pandemic. Now over 2 years later, it is time to adapt and adjust our way of thinking and figure out how we can once again prioritize resident voice in our decision-making. While the culture change fundamentals of a decade ago remain valid and valuable, they nonetheless need to be reimagined in order to be effectively implemented in today’s reality of staffing shortages and other challenges.

Heather Riley, a Licensed Master of Social Work and Licensed Nursing Home Administrator with over 20 years of experience working in long-term care. Heather has worked throughout her career to incorporate culture change principles and person-directed care practices into the communities she worked in and consulted with.

In the podcast, she shares ideas on how we can reimagine consistent assignment, a core element of culture change, share ideas for improving new and/or agency staff orientation, and offer solutions such as the creation of resident preference cards and other ideas that individually and/or implemented together can positively impact a community while simultaneously prioritizing resident voice.

Though like all of us, she doesn’t have all the answers, she’ll share her thoughts, and then invite you to join her for further conversation and exploration of the question, where we go from here?

CLICK HERE to watch our Learning Circle Discussion

Episode 3: Creating Perfect Pairs


Join Emily Lerner, founder of Perfect Pair, an organization dedicated to creating one-on-one connections between seniors and college students. Learn how Perfect Pair came to be, meet a “perfect pair”, and find out how you can get involved.
CLICK HERE to watch the learning circle discussion

Episode 2: Turnover & Retention:  Let’s Get Real!

When asked about what is keeping long-term care leaders awake at night, one of the top answers is the workforce crisis  – how am I going to hire and retain the best staff?  Pioneer Network is pleased to have Cara Silletto as our guest for  our Listen, Learn, Explore series. As President and Chief Retention Officer of Magnet Culture, Cara is a workforce thought leader.  Her job is to change leaders’ perspectives to ensure they are successful as workforce trends and demographics change. Cara serves as the voice of the new workforce, offering insight into the mindset of today’s evolving workforce.
You’re invited to connect with Cara on LinkIn.
WATCH OUR LEARNING CIRCLE DISCUSSION, Turnover and Retention: Let’s Get Real
And check out resources shared during the learning circle:  includes the 2022 Retention Audit Questions and Retention Specialist Sample Job Description
A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne

Episode 1: A Conversation with Linda Cohen, Kindness Catalyst 

Bring in the New Year with an episode that is sure to inspire you. Join Linda Cohen, known as the “Kindness Catalyst”, and author of The Economy of Kindness:  How Kindness Transforms Your Bottom Line,  as she joins Penny Cook in a conversation about the benefits of kindness, the importance of it in the workplace and how we can all be catalysts of kindness, not only for the good of others but also for ourselves.

Would you like to connect with Linda on LinkIn?  Click here.
Check out Linda’s newest offering, a Workplace Kindness Intensive.


Season 1
Episode 20: A Holiday Message from the Staff at Pioneer Network

This Episode is a podcast only

This is Episode 20 of our podcast and the last of 2021 and we have something a little bit different for you. Join the staff of Pioneer Network, Penny Cook, Cathy Lieblich and Joan Devine for a special holiday episode where they’ll review the year by sharing what’s been meaningful for to them in 2021 and what they’re looking forward to in the New Year.
Thank you for being part of our Network, for your support, your encouragement and for all you do on behalf of the older adults of today and the those of the future.  We wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, warmth and love and Cheers to 2022—let’s make it a great year!

Episode 19: A Conversation on Innovating for Today and Tomorrow

This Episode is a podcast only

Pioneer Network’s President & CEO Penny Cook is pleased to welcome Lynne Katzmann, President & CEO of Juniper Communities as her guest. Lynne has been recognized for her outstanding leadership.  As someone who champions a spirit of innovation, she is a firm believer in the double bottom line: doing well by doing good.  Listen as she shares the work she and the team at Juniper have been doing over the past 2 years as they have embraced the interconnection between physical, emotional and mental health, supporting innovation in in every aspect of their organization, including clinical care and engagement.
Lynne is one of those leaders who can guide us as we look to the future.  We invite you to hear from other innovative leaders by joining us on Wednesday, December 8 for Pioneer Network’s final symposium in the 2021 Envisioning the Future series, More to Do in 2022!  Click here to learn more.

Episode 18: The Importance of Family Collaboration for Quality Dementia Care

This Episode is a podcast only

Listen to Penny Cook’s second discussion with Kim Warchol, an occupational therapist and the President and Founder of Dementia Care Specialists at Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI). CPI is part of the Pioneer Partner Network. Kim and Penny talk about what quality dementia care really means and the opportunities and benefits of family collaboration. They also have a lively conversation about shifting the paradigm to focus on the family care partner first (like putting on your oxygen mask before helping others!).

Episode 17: Making the Most of the Holidays by Setting Shared Goals

For most of us, the holidays are a time to gather together with family and friends to celebrate, share traditions and make memories. But for someone living with Dementia and their Care Partners, the holidays can present new challenges. In this podcast, Carrie Chiusano, Exec Dir, Dementia Care Center of Excellence, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network shares her experiences and provides insights into how, by setting shared goals, we can support residents and care partners in having the best possible experience over the holidays.

Episode 16: Creating a Volun-Cheer Workforce

This Episode is a podcast only

Who benefits from using volunteers in nursing homes? Everyone! Join Penny Cook and she talks with Dr. Paul Falkowski. Paul is an author, musician, entrepreneur, teacher, public speaker, and consultant who strongly promotes and advocates for expanding the role of volunteers in long-term care.

And you can check out more from Paul.

The recording of the October Growing Person-Centeredness webinar,  Someone Just for Me: Recognizing a Critical Role for Volunteers, will be available soon in the Workforce section of the On-Demand Videos located under the Tools & Resources tab on this website, and Paul’s recently released book, Creating a Volun-Cheer Force, is a great resource, describing how you can create a robust volunteer program that will act as a conduit for attracting new workers while undoing the negative stereotypes associated with aging and long-term care.

Episode 15: Distress Behavior Intervention – We Have a Solution!

This Episode is a podcast only

Join Penny Cook as she talks “behaviors” with Kim Warchol. Kim is an occupational therapist and the President and Founder of Dementia Care Specialists at Crisis Prevention Institute. Dementia Care Specialists offers a person-centered, abilities-focused model of care for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Kim delves into many topics including normalizing the word “behavior,” how we can prevent and intervene with “distress behaviors,” and how this knowledge is beneficial for people living with dementia and both their personal and professional care partners. This is the first of two special episodes that you won’t want to miss.

Episode 14: Pandemic Endurance – Building Immunity in Partnership with Nature

Biophiliac & Longevity Expert and Founder & CEO of Biophilia Pharma (Nature is the New Pharmacy) Tammy Marshall joins us for the latest episode in Pioneer Network’s Listen, Learn, Explore series where she challenges you to listen to your body’s desire to be in nature (When you feel the pull to be outdoors, respond to it); learn the positive impacts that nature can have on your health; and explore areas in and around your environment where you can immerse yourself and the residents in nature.

Tammy’s Top Ten Tips for Bringing Nature Inside


Episode 13: Know Each Person – You Bring the Passion, PELI Brings the Process!

As we work to provide quality of life for residents living in care communities, we can all agree on the value of knowing each person and understanding their preferences around daily routines; preferences that support meaning and purpose in their life.  We know we need to not only find a way to collect this information, but we also need to have a process to share it with all team members, incorporate those preferences into each resident’s plan of care, and identify if we are honoring those preferences.

Quite a challenge, but we believe that PELI (Preferences of Everyday Living Inventory) may be just what you are looking for to meet that challenge!

Join Katy as she introduces you to PELI and the PAL Cards and shares how your team can use these tool to support knowing the person –  and more!  And there’s more!  You will also learn about ComPASS-16, a tool that can help you evaluate how well you are meeting resident preferences, and the Individualized Positive Psychosocial Intervention (IPPI), an evidence-based intervention to help engage with residents living with dementia in day-to-day activities.  And everything Katy will be sharing is FREE!

After listening to the podcast, we hope you will join us for a virtual learning circle, where you will have the opportunity to meet Katy and learn more, ask questions, and even participate in short demonstration.

Click here to download the PELI Resources shared in the Learning Circle Chat

Episode 12: Engagement in Senior Living- Where Are We Now and What Does the Future Hold?

        This Episode is a podcast only

Listen to Dawn Worsley, Certified Activity Consultant, Regional Clinical Specialist, Owner of ‘Dawn on the Horizon, and Board President of NCCAP, the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals, as she talks to Penny Cook about the current state and future of engagement and activity professionals. Among other things, you’ll learn how COVID has helped to change the world of the activities calendar and what it means to support residents to have a truly enriched life.


Episode 11:  Food for Thought

Are you looking for those “a-ha” moments, the little things that can make the dining experience for individuals living with dementia meaningful as you support their nutritional needs? Then you’ll want to join Toni Fisk, CDM and author of the book,  #dinewithdignity: Unlocking the Mystery of Dementia & Dining as she shares practical ideas that you can put in place to support the well-being of individuals living with dementia and their care partners.


Episode 10:  Happily Ever Older:  Revolutionary Approaches to Long-Term Care

Penny Cook as she talks with Moira Welsh, an investigative journalist with the Toronto Star. She started as a breaking news reporter and soon joined the investigative team where she has written on social justice, the environment, and the lives of people living in senior living communities. She is also the author of Happily Ever Older: Revolutionary Approaches to Long-Term Care. Moira and Penny discuss the book, the reasons Moira wrote it, and the extensive research she did on various communities throughout the world where those who live and work are thriving and growing. You won’t want to miss this conversation. You can find Moira’s book at

This Episode is a podcast only

Episode 9:  Operationalizing Dignity

Dignity. It’s a word we hear and use all the time. For those of us working in aging services, we know that in the long-term regulations as far back as OBRA ’87 you will find that the word ‘dignity,’ along with ‘respect,’ are two of the more commonly seen words in the document.  And it makes sense — who doesn’t believe that it is a fundamental right for residents in nursing homes to be treated with dignity, and don’t we all want to be treated with dignity as well?

Marianne Schmenk, who spent the last 15 years of her career managing a regional long-term care ombudsman program in NW Ohio, has recently had an “A-ha” regarding the concept of dignity, and she is here to share her thoughts with you, and hopefully stimulate some thinking. No, she doesn’t’ have all the answers on how to operationalize dignity, though there is surely a tie to person-centered care, but she is eager to share ideas and get the conversation going.

So we hope you’ll enjoy the conversation between Marianne and Pioneer Network’s Director of Education, Joan Devine, and that it will inspire you to join us for the virtual learning circle on Tuesday, July 27 at 1PM EDT so that you can continue the conversation with us — and together, we can gain insight into how to operationalize dignity.


Episode 8:  Dignity & Respect – Are Our Aging Parents Getting What They Deserve?

The title says it all and it’s also the title of Phyllis Ayman’s latest book. Join Penny Cook for this transparent discussion with Phyllis about nursing homes, senior living and the advocacy needed to change the culture of care and support. Start by listening to the Podcast, then listen in on the lively discussion that followed at the virtual learning circle.

Phyllis Ayman known as “The Voice for Eldercare Advocacy” is an Eldercare Consultant, Advocate, Speaker and Speech & Language Pathologist who brings an insider’s view into the nursing home industry after working in 40+skilled nursing/short-term rehabilitation facilities for over 25 years. In her second book about the industry, “OVERDUE Quality Care for Our Elder Citizens” she provides valuable insight and necessary information for individuals and families so they can become more informed and effective advocates for themselves and their loved ones.

Episode 7:  Living in A Dementia Unit: A View From the Inside

Like so many of us, Jim Vanden Bosch, a filmmaker and the founder and executive director of Terra Nova Films, a not-for-profit company specializing in films and videos on a wide variety of aging related issues, was curious about what it must be like to live in a “dementia unit” in a nursing home. Unlike most of us, Jim decided he needed to know – first hand, and so with the support of his family and a local nursing home administrator, he moved in and lived there for 4 days.

This episode of Listen, Learn, Explore provides the opportunity to listen to Jim’s story and learn what he experienced.

The learning circle offers further opportunity to explore this topic with Jim, along with his special guest Leslie Pedtke, author of What Living as a Resident Can Teach Long-Term Care Staff, whose community, Aviston Countryside Manor is featured in Villa Nova’s film, Through the Looking Glass II.


Excerpts from Jim’s daily journals.

Episode 6: Specialized Seating for Residents and Caregivers: Why Chairs Designed for Use by Older Adults Need to Swivel, Turn and Roll!

CNAs and other caregivers shoulder a great burden every day. In particular, the task of moving elders up to or away from the dining table requires a great deal of push-pull-shove-twist. Chairs get damaged and lose their structural integrity. Floors get damaged from the dragging and the weight. Most importantly, the risk of personal injury to care staff from such exertion adds to an already burdensome workday.

ComforTek Seating seeks to provide care communities with caregiver-focused solutions that benefit the resident, the caregiver, and the administrator. With chairs that swivel, turn, roll, and lock for safety. ComforTek President, Randy Schellenberg, shares the mission of ComforTek and explains why it’s all about the caregiver.

Click here to learn more about ComforTek’s innovative seating options and Chair Caddie.

Episode 5: A Toolkit to Help State Policymakers Promote Person-Centered Care

In Episode 5 of Listen, Learn, Explore, you’ll learn about a new toolkit from the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston that outlines steps that policymakers at the state level can take to implement a pay-for-performance (P4P) program that uses Medicaid funds to promote person-centered care in nursing homes. The toolkit focuses on lessons learned from implementation of the Promoting Excellent Alternatives in Kansas Nursing Homes (PEAK 2.0), a program that helps Kansas nursing homes implement person-centered care.

You will hear from Laci Cornelison, Program Director of PEAK 2.0 at Kansas State University and Natasha Bryant, Managing Director and Research Associate of the LeadingAge LTSS Center at UMass Boston as they talk about how the toolkit can help you advocate with your state to integrate person-centered care expectations and incentives into state policy.

LLE Episode 5 – Chat

Episode 4: Spring Is Here-Time to Reconnect with Mother Nature

Trees are budding, flowers are blooming, and except for those quick April snowstorms, we’re in the throes of spring and itching to be outside. After the year long-term care residents have had, we know that they are as well. Are the outdoor spaces in senior living and care communities ready for spring? Are they accessible to everyone so that no matter where people live or whatever their abilities or disabilities are, they can go outside too? Join Maggie Calkins from IDEAS Institute and Matt Richardson from WhisperGLIDE Swing Company as we discuss Designing Gardens to Attract Activity.


Episode 3: Urinary Incontinence: No, We’re Not Kidding, Let’s Talk about It!

In this Listen, Learn Explore episode sponsored by Seni, we talk with Dr. Rosemary Laird about the importance of person-centered incontinence care; that incontinence is not inevitable as we age; the ways to maintain continence; and the importance of knowing a person well, both for the type of care and the products you provide.

Aging Impacts:  Urinary Incontinence White Paper


Episode 2: Do you know … your residents?

In this Listen, Learn, Explore podcast, Dr. Lynn McNicholl offers insights into an array of COVID related issues such as brain fog, delirium and sepsis showing how a person centered lens can make a world of difference in supporting the care of elders. As you listen and learn, Dr. McNicholl will share examples from high performing organizations, opening up a world of ideas that will illuminate and guide.


Episode I: Did You Know…?

This Listen, Learn, Explore episode is titled “Did You Know?” In the podcast, Dr. Stefan Gravenstein will share his considerable knowledge and deep insights into the COVID-19 pandemic. Did you know about band wagoning, information about the new strains, and using video to improve quality?