In a recent article he wrote for U.S. News & World Report, Huntersville resident Anthony Cirillo explained some of the advantages associated with older individuals taking time to document their lives.
Referencing a “Cherished Memories” guide listing 101 reasons it’s important for individuals to compile memories, milestones and experiences from their journey through life, Cirillo added findings from the “Harvard’s Men’s Health Watch” and advised readers the process can also be good for their health.
It’s the kind of entertaining and informative advice about aging Cirillo provides regularly as a contributor to the national publication. And it’s a practice he has adopted as a career as the president of The Aging Experience.
The Aging Experience, established by Cirillo a few years ago as the successor to his consulting firm, is a multi-faceted operation designed to provide information and insight about all aspects of modern aging. The company offers consulting and guest speaking services as well as media assistance and caregiver advice for organizations that include or cater to the steadily growing older population.
Health care issues are a primary focus of The Aging Experience, and access to caregiver advice and training are a company specialty. But in a summation of his company’s objectives, Cirillo said the firm “consults with any business, not just in health care, that wants to provide a better experience for family caregivers while enhancing their brand.”
His articles and regular blog posts address an assortment of aging-related topics, illustrating Cirillo’s interest in addressing concerns and questions shared by seniors and others. Recent topics have included guardianship guidelines, the growing trend of younger family members serving as caregivers, misplaced societal attitudes toward the aging population and the importance of remaining active.
Path to aging advocacy
In their summation of his credentials, U.S. News & World Report describes Cirillo as “a passionate advocate for family caregivers and older adults, helping them lead a quality life through a platform of educated aging – physically, emotionally and financially.”
So how did a big city executive and nightclub performer end up as an aging services expert and advocate based in Huntersville? Cirillo said he didn’t “choose this path but was guided to it through a passion that developed over the years.”
As a health care executive in Philadelphia, Cirillo had a second career as a musician. He said he had grown tired of performing in casinos and nightclubs when he “stumbled into a place that would value his talents even more – senior communities.”
He was performing more than 100 nights a year for various senior groups when he left Philadelphia for a marketing position with a Wall Street firm that worked with seniors. He said several times he staged marketing events for seniors in New York City boroughs and stayed to be the deejay, master of ceremonies and singer at the event.
“If your name is Cirillo and you can sign Sinatra,” he said, “well, let’s just say, it went a long way in building relationships with the community.”
The idea for a senior-serving business began in New York, Cirillo said but became more practical when he and his wife, Kathy, relocated to Huntersville as a result of her job with Ingersoll Rand.
He started Fast Forward Consulting, working with hospitals on strategic marketing. During this process, he realized all aspects of the health care experience were factors in evaluations of a facility. An article he wrote coined the term “Chief Experience Officer” and helped prompt a health care industry focus on overall patient experiences. He has since been the keynote speaker at the Cleveland Clinic’s annual patient experience conference.
Through The Aging Experience firm, Cirillo consults and serves as a visiting speaker, and he still performs at elder care facilities. He also conducts a virtual caregiver summit each year.
Cirillo is also an author, and the lighthearted title of his book “Who Moved My Dentures” is an indication of the attitude he believes is vital for growing older. “Aging is not a time of gloom and doom,” he said, “but of great opportunity and exploration.”