By Steve Moran

The opening panel at LeadingAge California was a panel of pundits who talked about AI in senior living. The panelists were:

  • David Lindeman, UC Berkeley
  • Kari Olson, Front Porch
  • Emerson Sklar, Amazon Alexa
  • Savannah Kunovsky, IDEO

The big question was this: What does AI mean to senior living?

I attend 18 or so conferences per year and find most panels to not be super helpful. This one was an exception. I came out with lots of notes and lots to think about — in spite of the fact that there are still clearly more questions than answers.

Here are the highlights for me:

  • Many people in senior living are already using AI in their day-to-day workflow.
  • Most employers do not really know how much AI is being used by their team members … which made me wonder how much my team is using it, though I think I probably use it more than anyone else.
  • AI needs to be deployed in a way that is responsible and ethical. (To that end, this is my disclosure that I got some minor help from AI in creating this article).
  • The biggest opportunities are to improve business efficiencies and the customer experience.
  • AI can be used for more things than most of us can imagine, including image generation. The image above was created using ChatGPT.
  • AI has the power to create personalized experiences for residents and prospects.
  • AI has the power to enhance human capabilities. A couple of examples:
    • Create a series of adventures for someone who recently had a hip replacement.
    • Plan a 10-day road trip that includes specific sites, with recommendations for routes, hotels, and even food.
  • There are risks — legal, ethical, practical — particularly when it comes to vulnerable communities like older people.
  • There is significant opportunity to use AI in workforce development, creating personalized training programs and career advancement paths.

Figuring Out AI

As you figure out your own AI adventure, here are some recommendations that came out of the presentation:

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with the tools.
  • Reach out to your vendors, and ask them how they are using AI today and what their plans are for the future.
  • Ask yourself how AI could be used to streamline your workflows and reduce friction.
  • Talk to your staff about how they are using AI today and how it might be used more effectively.
  • Develop internal AI policies that cover all aspects of the organization.