By Steve Moran

A few weeks ago I had this kind of epiphany. Being a senior living resident is a lot like being on a jury. If you have ever been on a jury, you know what I am talking about.

There is a judge, and he gives you this little “motivational” talk where he tells you that your jury is the single most important element of the trial because you have this solemn duty to judge guilt or innocence. You feel pretty good, and then the judge proceeds to give you this long list of things you can and cannot do, and all of a sudden you discover that while you are making the most important final decision in the trial, you also are nearly as handcuffed as the accused.


In the case of a criminal trial where the defendant is out on bail, you may be the ones with the least amount of freedom.


That’s my big senior living incongruity. Here are some other candidates:

  • Frontline workers doing a great job are critical to the financial success of a community, yet we have a goal of paying them as little as possible, and they reap zero rewards when the community is sold and the investors cash out.
  • We sell lifestyle and community as the one thing senior living does for older people better than any other living option, then we pay life enrichment leaders paltry wages …  and almost deserving its own bullet point, we give them bare-bones budgets.
  • We say culture eats strategy then give executive directors little to no control over how they operate their communities.
  • We say we hate ageism but patronize our residents.
  • We complain about paying fees to online aggregators, then do very little to develop deep community relationships.
  • We want loyal team members but hate it when they flex their “you need me more than I need you” muscle, asking for a bigger voice and more work flexibility.
  • We describe senior living as homelike, but it is nothing at all like home, from the way we do food, to life enrichment, to medication management.

I would love to hear your list ….