Joel Theisen, Director of Long Term Care
"The best way to predict your future is to create it."
Although Joel didn't author this statement, it's an accurate reflection of life philosophy for himself and his clients.

It's also the driver behind a career exemplified by reaching out, being pro-active, and getting ahead of the curve to see the possibilities.

Soon after earning his nursing degree, Joel found his true passion not in the operating room, but in community health working with the senior population. He became a care manager for an agency considered at the time to be cutting edge, and rapidly advanced to the corporate office where he was responsible for the private-pay side of the business.

There, while helping the company focus on the expectations and demands of its more affluent clients, he realized that there was much more transactional processing than customer service taking place. Because health care is largely built on payer systems vs. client needs, it focuses on medically 'fixing' what goes wrong. He also saw that the quality of care delivered across the company's 40+ offices was largely dependent on the individuals who staffed and managed each office rather than on a consistent organizational imperative.

In the mid 1990s, Joel decided to embrace a new paradigm based on customer-driven geriatric care management. He sought venture capital to create a new company, AdvoLife of California, in which care managers were replaced by "life advocates." Here he was able to realize his passion for serving seniors in a way that engaged them on a personal basis and helped them live a much better life. So successful was this approach that the venture soon grew to five offices and hundreds of clients. The investors decided to merge with a larger company, where Joel once again found a conflict between his philosophy and the corporate bottom line.

His experience taught him that he needed "a longer runway" to make a true game change, and with co-funding from family and friends, coupled with a small, passionate and mission-driven team, launched an enterprise committed to his core values. Age Well, the new company, was and remains committed to inspiring change not only for its own clients but for the industry at large. In contrast to our fragmented, specialty-driven health care system, Age Well embraces a holistic approach that seeks to understand what seniors want and need in order to thrive and feel better about aging.

Although affluent seniors have the financial resources to obtain the best care available, like other any other senior they often lack the "social capital" that can be equally essential to quality of life. Short, intermittent crisis intervention offers no stability, and pales in comparison to what can be learned when staying connected to a client through good times and bad. When someone is focused on getting home and getting well, the next phase can be marked by loneliness, depression and an unfulfilled desire to give back to their family and society. Even if they have the means, they may not have the information to empower them and their families to make the best decisions.

As an antidote, AgeWell's "life care managers" earn a close, trusting relationship with their clients to build a plan around seven key areas of aging. Staying closely connected creates opportunities for seniors to continue to grow and be who they want to be. Engage them and understand them, Joel has learned, and their clouded eyes grow bright with the joy of living and giving back to their family and community. He brings his compassionate perspective, his depth of experience and his enduring passion to help the senior clients of LTC Risk Advisors receive not only get the best of care when they need it, but to enjoy the kind of life that can mitigate the need for intervention in the first place.

Hersh Markusfeld, Advisor

This experienced team is uniquely positioned to integrate the funding of long-term care with access to preventive and quality home care. This consumer-oriented perspective will not only benefit the high net worth families served, but could well reduce the need for care and costs on a much broader basis.

Hersh Markusfeld is an Actuary, LTCi industry pioneer, product designer and former EVP of Fireman’s Fund American Life, now Genworth Financial)