By Steve Moran

There is a widely held and accepted belief that boomers are going to disrupt the senior living industry. Those operators who figure out how to service the boomers will win, and those who do the same old thing will lose.

I am a skeptic, and apparently not the only one. Recently Steve Monroe, editor-at-large of Irving Levin Associates, published one of his 60 Seconds with Steve Monroe titled “What If Boomers Are Not the Disruptors?” suggesting the same thing.

Don’t Get Me Wrong

There will be a few things that will need to be different for us boomers.

The music needs to be more along the likes of Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Steely Dan, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. Lawrence Welk (was he ever really a thing?) and the Andrews Sisters are out.

The menu choices will need to be more than meat and potatoes every day, though my folks would not have liked that much either. They will also need to be healthier, but if we are honest, not too healthy (another myth to be tackled).

Activities will need more than just Bible study, bingo, and birthdays, though to take those three completely away will leave some people out.

The Last Thing — the Most Important Thing

The last thing — and most important thing — is that we boomers will want more of a say in how things are run. Creating a program and telling us that is all we get will simply not cut the mustard. We will make our voices heard, and smart operators will embrace this as a way to create and curate powerful custom resident experiences.

The Basics

The big basics, the reasons people choose senior living, will stay exactly the same.

  • Safety, an area that still needs some work
  • Appealing food
  • Transportation
  • Opportunity to socialize with old and new friends
  • Help with ADLs as needed
  • Assistance with medication

Better Than We Think We Are

We are mostly better than we think we are. I think this is why we have such a hard time collecting and telling stories to each other and to the world. We operate very complex businesses with lots of moving parts. It needs some tweaking and twisting, but we are actually pretty darn good at the basics, and we should celebrate that. Tell those stories.

We should not be afraid to tell our boomer prospects that they will have a great life in our communities.