CCAL was founded in 1995 as the only national assisted living consumer organization. Recognized by the IRS as a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt organization, CCAL became the nationally recognized voice of consumers of assisted living. CCAL’s board of directors and advisory board have always represented a broad range of expertise, experiences and perspectives, and have included consumers, consumer advocates, public policymakers, assisted living staff, health professionals, and researchers. This diversity of perspectives helps ensure that CCAL’s policies and positions are relevant and well-informed to ensure its efforts are meaningful and realistic.
A hallmark of CCAL is its belief that greater good can be accomplished through collaborative efforts.
After lengthy and widespread discussions with many consumers and professionals, CCAL’S Board of Directors decided in 2010 to expand its audience to include all consumers of long-term services and supports and to narrow the focus to advancing practices, policies, and research that promote and foster person-centered living (PCL) practices. PCL is what people want – a life centered on personal preferences and values that stress dignity, choice, self-determination, and individuality regardless of where they live and what services and supports they may need.
Since its inception in 1995, CCAL has achieved many significant accomplishments. Some of them include:
- Operated the only national telephone Helpline to assist consumers and healthcare professionals with questions, problems and advocacy needs related to assisted living. An internet component to the Helpline was added in 2000.
- Published a consumer booklet, Choosing Assisted Living: Considerations for Making the Right Decision, that SmartMoney magazine rated number one in its area.
- Teamed in 2003 with an Emmy award-winning producer to develop the first consumer education video – Choosing Assisted Living…What You Need To Know – understanding that informed consumers make better choices. The video received the Mature Market Media award in 2004.
- Served as the co-facilitator at the behest of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on an eighteen-month national initiative to develop consensus assisted living recommendations to inform federal and state policy.state regulation and provider operations that included 50 national organizations.
- Co-founded a unique non-profit collaborative of 11 national organizations, the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL), aimed at promoting high quality assisted living and that serves as an objective national clearinghouse and convener for research, practices, and policies that foster quality and affordability in assisted living. Other national organizations that are part of the CEAL Collaborative include AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Assisted Living Nurses Association, and the National Center on Assisted Living among others. A CCAL board member serves in a leadership capacity on the Board of Directors for CEAL.
- Provided innumerable interviews over the years to wide ranging print and broadcast media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, Consumers Report, Parade, Business Week, and CBS’s The Early Show.
- Pilot tested an innovative “Community Partnership” (CP) project, to build and strengthen collaborative relationships among residents, staff, and family members in assisted living communities. The innovative model was successfully tested in three assisted living communities in the Washington DC area.
- From 1996 to 2010 CCAL has been advocating for and engaged in research, policy, and best practice efforts to advance quality person-centered living for consumers, whether they are living in the community or in assisted living.
- In 2010, the Board of Directors voted to expand the organization’s mission to the broader audience of elders and individuals with disabilities living at home and in assisted living with a focus on advancing policies, practices and research to support person-centered living.
- In 2012, CCAL led the Dementia Initiative, convening a gathering of a diverse group of national dementia experts representing the practice, policy and research sectors to discuss and form consensus on strategies and practices for recommended dementia care. In January 2013, the resultant white paper, Dementia Care: The Quality Chasm, was published.
- In 2013, CCAL began the formation of the Dementia Action Alliance by creating a leadership team with The Eden Alternative, Planetree, and AMDA to coalesce and connect the voices and preferences of individuals living with dementia, their families, and care partners through a national network of advocacy across research, policy and practice to make person-centered dementia care the only acceptable norm in our country.