By Steve Moran

A few days ago, Walmart announced they are shutting down all of their US-based health clinics because they don’t know how to make them profitable. They are not the only big retailer that tried and failed, or is on the way to failure. The list includes Walgreens, Amazon, and CVS, collectively flushing billions of dollars down the drain.

The story made me smile ….

Before you think too badly of me for smiling, let me explain. I was not smiling about the failure, the loss of money or jobs. I was smiling for a very different reason.

The Warnings

Over the past few years, I have attended dozens of conferences and ever more presentations where senior living industry leaders told the audience that we’d better get our act together or Amazon, Walmart, or some other big, successful company would eat our lunch.

Every audience member (including me) nodded their heads in solemn agreement, with a slight tremor of fear coursing through their being.

There is this thing that we all know about senior living: We are not very good at innovating, thinking out of the box. Maybe not very good at much of anything. This warning, along with others, rang so, so true.

Better Than We Think We Are

The experts were and are wrong. These big box retailers are really good at being big box retailers, but they honestly suck at being health care providers — even the drug store chains. They simply don’t have the ability to figure it out.

I smiled because this story proves that we are actually remarkably good at what we do. In reality, senior living is a really tough business. It is a little health care, a little transportation, a little restaurant, a little lodging, a little vacation resort, a little funeral home, a little career center, a little counseling center, and more.

Perhaps the single biggest problem is not that we don’t know how to innovate or pivot like these big sexy businesses but rather that we don’t believe in ourselves the way we should. A few months ago I wrote about how we need to stop saying that “no one wants to work in senior living,” because it is not true.

This is another example of how we have a serious self-image problem.

Senior living is amazing. You are amazing. Believe it!!!!