By Steve Moran

Imagine for a moment that Melinda Gates or Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife MacKenzie Scott one day, out of the blue, called you up with this proposition:

      “I know you have a dream of being able to operate a senior living community the way it should be run. In a way that would bring maximum quality of life to residents and team members (including leadership). You will need to charge for the services, but at a rate  affordable by 60% of all older people.”

The Idea

You would have access to an endowment that would make sure you could pay all your bills, allowing you to create the ideal senior living community. Don’t misinterpret what I am talking about: I am not suggesting Ritz Carlton level of service (which I would argue would not appeal to many seniors and would not ultimately create the best experience for them).

This would mean:

  • The optimal staffing ratios for every shift
  • The ideal number of life enrichment folks who have the right qualifications for the job
  • The right dining program
  • The right transportation options

And one more thing, you would need to do this in a building that is at least 10 years old — so no spending money on some kind of palace.

Here are the questions I have been thinking about:

  • What would be the right number of caregivers for each resident?
  • What would the life enrichment staff look like?
  • What would the life enrichment budget be each month?
  • How would transportation be different? 
  • What would the wages and benefits look like, particularly for frontline workers and life enrichment leaders?

I would love to hear about how you would run this community.

A Final Thought

It occurs to me that there are a few organizations out there where the ownership group has the financial strength to make this happen as a learning lab. I think it would be an amazingly worthwhile thing to think about. It would not even need to be a forever commitment, meaning if it were too costly or there were nothing to be learned, it could be moved a market-rate community over some period of time.