By Steve Moran

This article was inspired by a recent blog post by Juniper CEO Lynne Katzmann titled “The Magic Has Started”: Moving Forward on Recovery Road. Senior Living is at a crossroads coming out of the pandemic. There is not a single operator that has not been scarred by the pandemic. It has extracted a terrible toll on residents, team members, and families.

We are beginning to see a shuffling of operators by REITs and surely there is more to come, a lot more. This is both painful and good. The painful is obvious, the good is that it will move communities from operators who are not cutting it to operators who will make lives better for team members.

My Biggest Fear

My biggest fear is that many are just hoping for, longing for the good old days. But, if we are honest, the good old days were not as good as they could have been, not even as good as they should have been. We can, and should, forgive ourselves for the not as good part. Because, for the most part, we simply didn’t know.

For instance, senior living seems to be headed toward the best flu season ever, maybe luck, but more likely because of all the precautions that have become the norm for every single community. It is startling to think about how many lives could have been saved if only.

It would be tragic for us to go back to that.

Winners, Losers, and Whiners

Losers will go out of business or lose the opportunity to operate as many communities as they had before. This is bad for the losers but good for the marketplace, good for residents and their families, and good for team members.

Whiners are the ones I most worry about. They will continue to limp along, complaining about how hard it is, and talk about that mythical age wave that will rescue them (which will not happen, I promise). These operators will continue to do damage to people and damage to the industry. When comedians poke fun at senior living these are the people they are talking about.

Winners warm my heart. These are the operators who were hurt in the pandemic but did what they had to do to protect residents and team members. They are the ones who were, and are, willing to look back and say, “We were really good, but we are going to be better.” We are going to be better because it makes the world we live in a better place, because it makes the lives of residents and their families better, and because it makes the lives of team members better.

The question each operator, each leader must ask themselves is which one they will be: A Winner, a Loser or a Whiner?

Which will you be?

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