Some leadership nuggets courtesy of the Marcus Evans Long-Term Care CXO Summit

By Steve Moran

Last week I attended the Marcus Evans Long-Term Care CXO Summit in Marina Del Rey. What follows are some of the leadership nuggets that came out of the presentations and conversations. By my admittedly inaccurate count, I had fantastic conversations with more than 70 senior living leaders on both the provider and vendor side.

The best stuff

These bullet points are a compilation of interesting stuff from a variety of leaders which means you will likely find some duplication and some contradictions.

  • We are facing a number of significant challenges that include a labor shortage and labor costs; changing consumer tastes; an impending oversupply of units; a lack of leadership skills; too much focus on real estate and not enough on people and regulations. Most critical, the public’s perception about the industry.

  • There are a ton people who could benefit from what we are selling. A huge percentage refuse to even consider senior living as a potential lifestyle/living option.

  • Of those who are willing to consider senior living as an option . . . MOST ultimately reject that option.

  • The single biggest problem is BINGO, meaning there is a very real perception (not reality) that all there is to do in senior living is play BINGO . . . a weird kind of old person version of hell on earth.  

  • Loved this illustration that John Cochrane used . . . Senior Living has more than a little in common with “Preparation H”. You are glad it is there in case you need it, but you hope you never have to use it.

  • We need to do a better job of getting to know our prospects, particularly those who are not interested in what we are selling.


    • They don’t want to live with a bunch of other old people.

    • They want to feel engaged and connected.

    • They want to learn and grow.

    • They hate terms like retirement, home, community and seniors.

    • They want choices.

We do know some things . . .

  • We are terrible at telling our story . . . we post photos that look like advertisements from cruise ships and look nothing like real residents . . . and consumers know we are trying to fool them.

  • Senior living providers need to do a better job of getting to know their community. Politicians, business operators, restaurants. Largely business owners have no real idea what senior living is like, what it does.

  • A Great Question: How many of your salespeople have met every single business owner within a 5 mile radius of your community?

  • You need to put a face on your community. This means getting to know people.

  • It is as important that you know what seniors don’t want as to know what they do want.

  • Even senior living communities that are highly engaged with technology are struggling to figure out how that technology will actually help with productivity.

  • One of the benefits of technology is that it is likely to attract better staff . . . at the same time, getting team members to adopt new technology is really tough.

  • The whole healthcare system and payment systems are in the middle of radical changes. These changes will make for winners and losers.

  • Having data on everything you are doing, understanding that data, and being able to tell your story based on that data has huge potential for keeping your senior living communities financially healthy.

  • There is a big push to allow individuals/patients/residents to choose where they want to go to receive care.

  • Their payor organizations are going to be increasingly focused on the post-acute spend per beneficiary. This means, if you organization can help reduce that cost, you can win. Conversely it means if you are increasing that cost you will not get residents.

  • When working with payor organizations they will tell you they want lots of data, but, at the end of the day, only two things are important — length of stay and readmissions.

  • While skilled nursing organizations might argue that the 5 Star system is not helpful, ACOs look at them. If you have a low star rating you will not even be allowed to start the game.

  • Over the last 4 years healthcare has been the single biggest driver for job growth.

  • In the near future healthcare will be the largest industry in the country.

  • Telehealth will become increasingly more important.


    • Are the most partisan of all partisan people . . . on both sides

    • They mostly care about the economy and moral issues

    • They tend to have strong brand loyalty

    • Relationships are very important to them

    • They know they are getting older, but don’t like being reminded of it

    • They want you to keep your word

    • They have more money to spend than their predecessor generation

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