By Steve Moran

An article published on January 17, 2021, in the Dallas Morning news authored by Jacquelyn Kung, Robert Kramer, and Ed Frauenheim titled “How the senior living industry can heal itself and all of us” is a worthwhile read.

It brings to the forefront the need for senior living to evolve into something better. Or maybe what we really need is something more radical; a complete reinvention.

They suggest 5 things senior living must do to stay relevant. 

1. Trust Through Transparency

The industry has been a mixed bag with this. But consistently, the communities that have been deliberate with their transparency have fared better than those who misled or were silent. In fact, this may be one of the most important lessons for senior living operators to learn.

They believe that senior living, in order to thrive, must be completely transparent; that it will rebuild trust in the sector. Transparency will also force us to be better.

2. Digital Transformation

They believe the industry needs a significant reset when it comes to technology in three specific areas:

  1. Video communication among residents, staff, and family members
  2. Virtual health care
  3. Social connection

3. Onsite Health Care Delivery

Traditionally healthcare for residents of senior living was delivered through a bizarre system of transporting residents to physicians and healthcare resources. Even worse, it required an ambulance ride for relatively minor complications that require physician services.

They see a new paradigm of healthcare being delivered onsite.

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4. Workplace Culture

Their view is that this needs to move from being a nice-to-have to a must-have for success. This is something I agree with 100%. No senior living organization says “I don’t care about employees”. In fact just the opposite, they all, without exception, say they care. But, in way too many organizations, the organizational behavior sends a very different message.

I continue to be baffled by why this is true. If every leader led with empathy the world of senior living would be very different.

5. A New Story for Senior Living

This is the most critical of all and deserves its own article. It really consists of two parts, both noble and transformative, not just for the senior living industry, not just for seniors, but for the entire nation.

The first part of this has to be a radical rethinking of what it looks and feels like to live in senior living. It is not so much that what exists today is bad because it is not bad at all, but it is a bit like sitting down to what is billed as an amazing meal, but there is only one dish served. And you have to eat that same dish every single day.

The second part is perhaps the most dangerous, and that is that we get better at telling our story but that the story promises something that we don’t deliver.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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