KEPHART recently had the privilege of being on the planning committee for the Colorado LeadingAge Assisted Living conference. Though specific to Assisted Living, there were a number of overarching themes that reflect the senior living industry at large. Here are our key takeaways
- COVID-19 has finally been eclipsed as the number one issue facing senior living. Labor shortages are the topic du jour and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
- Labor shortages are occurring across the spectrum from senior administrators to dish washers, the biggest challenge being turning part-time jobs into full-time careers Successful leaders in senior living are spending time educating high school and college students about the prospect of a career in the industry.
- The senior living industry has done a great job in reinventing itself to cope with the COVID health crises. However, it needs to get the word out to the general population that it’s no longer grandma’s boring setting.
- A top tip for hiring and retaining staff: Make the entire process, from your job postings, to your interviews, to your work culture more dynamic.
- It’s important for Assisted Living to adapt and start to offer a more attractive lifestyle with many healthy living options including massage therapists, counselors, gourmet chefs, nutritionists, and personal trainers. The challenge is how to deliver that at a reasonable cost.
- Regulations on assisted living are increasing as this sector takes on services that are more medical in nature. CDPHE has made their licensing inspections more rigorous.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion has emerged as a social imperative and as a legal hurdle. One great outcome is that more diversity in operational leadership of AL communities translates to higher staff retention. And happier employees leads to happier residents. Look at other industries to see how they are addressing DE & I. (Look at the websites of places like Apple, Google, Amazon, etc.) A good resource is https://www.diversityinc.com/
- Unconscious bias training is a new term that describes educating your staff and your residents to let go of prejudices. Here is a good, short article from Harvard addressing this topic in recruiting: https://www.hbs.edu/recruiting/insights-and-advice/blog/post/actively-addressing-unconscious-bias-in-recruiting
- Sales / leasing is more competitive than ever. Reinforcing the obvious, the internet has become the critical engagement tool in attracting residents to AL communities. That being said, personal referrals from existing residents are the most successful way to attract new residents.
- The Baby Boomers are delaying moving into AL because they are living longer and are healthier than their parents, but eventually they will flood the market. Human biology will catch up with them and they will require assistance with day-to-day activities.
- Technology is making headway into assisted living. PERS – Personal Emergency Response Systems are getting more sophisticated to monitor falls, Oxygen rate, and even EEG (a-fib). These systems are becoming more user-friendly, like Amazon’s Alexa.
It’s evident that the issues facing assisted living are applicable to other living models of senior living (independent living, memory care and skilled nursing). KEPHART is staying up to date with the most compelling issues in order to tailor our design solutions to industry’s primary needs. If you’d like to discuss any of these topics further, please reach out to KEPHART at 303-832-4474.