I came back feeling extremely proud to be a part of this industry and profoundly optimistic that we are on the cusp of some “disruptive” (I love and hate that word) positive changes.

I love going to conferences because it is a chance to sit and talk to the best of the best providers and vendors. It is a chance to hear their stories, their dreams, their pain points, lessons learned and victories.

My First Year

The first year I did the senior living conference circuit it was dazzling, overwhelming, confusing and, more than anything else, depressing. I saw people greeting and hugs between old friends. There were groups of people engaged in  passionate conversations, both deep and light-hearted. I didn’t know anyone, sat alone watching and could hardly wait for the shows to be over. I also knew that, as I got to know more people, it would get better and it definitely has. This week at ALFA was the best ever.

A Big Paradigm Shift

While totally exhausted from early mornings and long evenings of great conversations, I came back feeling extremely proud to be a part of this industry and profoundly optimistic that we are on the cusp of some “disruptive” (I love and hate that word) positive changes. Changes that will, most importantly, benefit residents and staff but will also make the work of developers and executives more fulfilling and satisfying.   Here is why: (The Caveat: It is possible that, because my network is vastly expanded over prior years, I would have heard similar things in my first two years of ALFA if I had been better connected. If this is true everything you read below is just blowing smoke.)

  • We Are Doing Better Than Good – While this is true there is still great potential for a radical shift to great. I talked with so many people who are experimenting with how they deliver services in an effort to better empower residents, families and team members.
  • Technology Will Rock–   We still have a long way to go with technology in senior living. Usability, cost and interoperability are still big challenges and not everyone is getting it (both vendors and providers), but the need for more and better technology that makes the lives of residents better and safer, staff more efficient and management more effective are smack dab on people’s radar.
  • Beyond the 3 B’s– I am really encouraged that more and more providers are recognizing that life enrichment needs to be more than Bible, Bingo and Birthdays (not to say these need to go away). There is some cool “give residents purpose” stuff going on. There is some great educational stuff going on. There is beginning to be a much better awareness that life enrichment and marketing need to be closely coupled.
  • New Models – While you might think, when reading much of what I write, that I am in favor of blowing up how we do senior living today, this is not true. It works for most operators and it works for the segment of the population we serve. But likely the best single way to increase market penetration is to offer seniors a wider variety of options.

I was able to do a bunch of interviews with some amazing leaders during ALFA in the weeks leading up to the conference. I hope to catch-up on writing the stories over the long holiday weekend and publishing them over the next few weeks. I hope they will leave you as hopeful and inspired as the process of doing the interviews left me. Steve Moran If you like this article (or even if you don’t) it would be a great honor to have you subscribe to our mailing list HERE