2018 Highlights

Lynette M. Killen joined Ralston Center in March 2018 and has already made a lasting impression on Ralston’s mission and strategic plan. Looking back on her first year as Executive Director, she reflects on the highlights that made 2018 memorable and what she’s looking forward to in the years to come.

Lynette M. Killen, Executive Director, Ralston Center

You went to work on a new mission statement and strategic plan in your first months at Ralston. Why?

In my first weeks at Ralston, I spent a lot of time listening to our constituents, board members and staff. It became clear that Ralston Center’s previous mission statement was very broad and did not clearly express Ralston’s current purpose. As I listened to accounts about our core competencies, what the people we serve need and what we were doing with limited resources, it was clear we needed to prioritize our supportive services and focus geographically to have greater impact.

Tell us a little about the strategic planning process at Ralston.

Our strategic planning process represented a synergy between Ralston’s staff, our community, our Board, and consultants who shepherded us through the tough questions to get at the heart of our organization.

We took a fresh look at how we were serving the needs of older adults in Philadelphia. Our Board and management team charted our accomplishments, strengths and areas of knowledge and experience. We recognized the completion of our two Age Friendly West Philadelphia pilot projects.

Continuing our self-evaluation, we confirmed the value of our fitness, education and other wellness programs in encouraging social engagement and the overall health and well-being of those who participate. We also acknowledged the ever-increasing demand for home care, home repairs, transportation and other support services as more people age in our communities.

Ralston is planning to expand their “at home services” through Ralston My Way. Why now?

Ralston My Way has been successful in Northwest Philadelphia, with a quality of service that’s unmatched, a reputation that’s based in trust and care, and a breadth of services that helps keep older adults in their communities as they age.

Through our Age-Friendly initiative, we worked closely with people, organizations and community groups in West Philadelphia and kept hearing about the need for home based services. It is, therefore, a logical progression for us to expand our home based services into West Philadelphia.

Why did you launch Care Management as a Ralston My Way service in 2018? Why is it such an important program?

Ralston’s new Care Management initiative guides older adults and their loved ones through the process of making decisions about their care, which reduces anxiety, and efficiently connects them to the answers and resources they need. Care Management, a fee-based program with assessment, planning and coordination services partners you with a competent and caring social worker who really has your best interests at heart so you can age in place with good mental and physical health.

What’s next?

Going forward, we will work in West and Northwest Philadelphia where we are already established and growing. Our plan now is to build a business model around our service priorities of care, education, and wellness consistent with our new mission. ∎