By Steve Moran

I recently listened to a Malcolm Gladwell podcast where he describes how he was part of a debate that took place in Canada. The topic was whether or not the mainstream media was trustworthy. Malcolm and his partner lost in a crushing defeat. You can watch the entire debate here.

There were two people who took each side. Malcolm, along with Michelle Goldberg, defended the idea that the mainstream media was trustworthy. Douglas Murray and Matt Taibbi made the case that you cannot trust the mainstream media.

It is a worthwhile use of time to listen to both the debate and the podcast.

The Listening Problem

Malcolm did worse than Michelle, and the #1 reason that he lost was that he didn’t actually listen to what the opposition was saying. He went into it believing that his position was superior and no one could possibly believe the other side.

All of that is to say that he never bothered to get into the head of the people he was debating.

Senior Living

It got me thinking that perhaps we don’t spend enough time getting into the heads of people who …

  • Take a look at senior living and then choose to not move in
  • Have their minds made up that they would not ever even consider moving in to senior living

I find myself thinking that if we actually spent time getting into their heads, figuring out what they are thinking and why they are thinking it, we would do a much better job of helping them see that senior living might in fact be a better choice.

I went to AI and asked:

Get inside the head of an older person who would never consider moving into a senior living community no matter what, and tell me what they are thinking.

Here is some of what I got back, which provides a good starting point:

  • I’m not moving into one of those places, not over my dead body!
  • I’m still independent, and I want to stay that way.
  • I don’t want to be surrounded by a bunch of old people. [This is my biggest reason.]
  • I don’t want to give up my home and all the memories I have here.
  • I’m afraid of losing my freedom.
  • I’m worried that I’ll be treated like a child.
  • I’m not ready to die yet.
  • I’ve lived my life on my own terms, and I’ll be darned if I let that change now just because of my age.
  • I’ve seen friends go into them and … they just aren’t the same afterwards. It’s like they’ve given up a part of themselves.
  • My home, with all its memories. How can I leave all that behind?
  • Sure, there might come a time when I’ll need some help, but I’d rather hire someone to come into my home than move somewhere unfamiliar.


  • The truth is that senior living is not for everyone. There are residents in your communities who are not thriving, not because you are doing anything wrong but because it is not the right fit for them.
  • The truth is that most older people will never move into a senior living community.
  • The truth is that many many older people are living in senior living right now, today, and because they live in senior living, their life is better than it otherwise would have been.

The biggest truth is that there are older people who believe things that make them see senior living in a bad light, but would in fact benefit from senior living. These are the people whose heads we need to get into and figure out how to tell the story better and differently to.

These are people who whose lives we can change for the better.