This is the final article in a series about the claim that private equity is destroying senior living (part 1, part 2, part 3).

By Steve Moran

Nearly every week, my news alerts feed me some new negative article about senior living and nursing homes. It was one of those articles, “Concerns Grow Over Quality of Care as Investor Groups Buy Not-for-Profit Nursing Homes,” by Harris Meyer, that inspired this series of articles.

These negative news articles are always going to pop up from time to time, no matter how close to perfect senior living and nursing homes get. We are helping people who are living through the ravages of growing older and complex family dynamics. There are lots of opportunities for things to go wrong, and for blame and accusations to be cast even when nothing has gone wrong.

Better Stories

We need to get a lot lot better at telling our story our way:

  • We need to be talking about how older people are moving into senior living and having better experiences and living longer and healthier.
  • While this is negative, we need to be pointing out stories about older people who didn’t move into senior living and had negative consequences for not moving into senior living.
  • We need to be talking about nursing homes that were purchased from not-for-profit entities and by for-profit entities and are serving their communities well.
  • We need the REITs and private equity ownership entities to be telling their stories about how they are making the lives of their residents and their team members better.

2 More Things

There are two more things we need to be doing. Both of them are hard and may even seem a bit unseemly, but the news media is playing hardball, and they don’t care if they crush the senior living industry. They don’t get that if they crush the industry, they are destroying the lives of countless older people who won’t get the care, the services, and the living experiences they deserve.

  1. We need to keep track of and talk about, in this case, the not-for-profit and government-owned communities that are doing a crummy job. Not to celebrate it but to point out that it happens with both ownership structures.
  2. When bad things happen, we need to distance ourselves from those operators. We must be willing to say, “That’s not us; that is not what we stand for.” The truth is that when bad, negligent things happen in communities (and I am not talking about those once-in-a-blue-moon tragedies that can happen even in the best organizations), they happen because leadership is either bad or incompetent, neither of which represents who we really are.

Let’s do this. Let’s celebrate every day the lives that we change for the better.

This is the final article in a series about the claim that private equity is destroying senior living (part 1, part 2, part 3).