By Steve Moran

One of the great dangers we all face is believing things that are not really true. Sometimes we do this because of preconceived notions, sometimes it’s faulty data, and other times it is simply a matter of believing something is true because everyone else believes it. Here is my best example of a truth that everyone believed that turned out not to be true.

Belief: “We can never build enough memory care units to satisfy the need.”

Truth: I remember well interviewing a bunch of leaders after the NIC conference maybe six or seven years ago. Leader after leader told me their biggest takeaway was that the demand for memory care was so explosive that the industry would never catch-up.

Truth’s That Are False — 2020

This is my list of the three biggest, really my partial list because there are others, but these are my three big ones.

False Truth #1: It is impossible to achieve a stabilized 95% occupancy rate.

Reality: In nearly every marketplace at every price point there is one operator who is defying the odds in a huge way. They are not beating the market because they are lucky or discounting or have a unique and special building. They are beating the market because they are doing things in a very unique way. They have the right service package at a fair price, they have good sales techniques, and a great culture for teams and residents.

False Truth #2: We are looking down the barrel and a huge nursing home bed shortage.

Reality: While the raw demographics would say this is true, consumer behavior combined with the government’s ability to pay will continue to drive the need for nursing home beds down. Today many nursing home residents are shells with little or no cognition. We as a society are becoming a lot more aware that this is not really living. We will continue to see more families and residents refuse things like feeding tubes and other long-shot treatments that result in these kinds of residents.

We also know that as assisted living has become more medicalized, there are significant numbers of residents who reside in nursing homes that would be better served in assisted living, and at a lower cost. It will take some changes in payment models, but they are coming.

False Truth #3: The coming aging Boomer bubble will solve all occupancy problems.

Reality: I wish this were true, but at best we will see a tiny little occupancy surge. While we do a great job of solving a problem for older people who need care, we are still mostly not providing what people want. Companies will continue to get creative in figuring out how to serve people in their homes. Price creep will continue to reduce the size of the marketplace.

Final Thoughts

When we face up to our false truths, or perhaps more accurately industry false truths since none of these may be yours personally, we are then open to finding amazing solutions to difficult problems. When we do that we serve older people in new, powerful, exciting ways.

We also create amazing business opportunities.