Where Today’s Executives Are Seeing Senior Living’s Toughest Challenges

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leaders in senior housing

The road to revenue can be challenging, as community leaders are faced with tackling a variety of obstacles in today’s evolving operating environment. From managing a new, changing resident, working through a period of declining occupancy, and finding a way to get a seat at the table when it comes to health care partnerships and proving outcomes — senior living executives can feel overwhelmed.

However, top leaders in senior living are approaching these challenges head on, through creative ideas and hands-on management of their organizations. Through The Leadership Series, a partnership between PointClickCare and Senior Housing News, several of these leaders have shared their most significant learnings, as well as their tried-and-true best practices. Here’s what they had to say:

Tana Gall, Chief Executive Officer of Blue Harbor Senior Living, on working through occupancy pressures and a period of declining occupancy.

“The occupancy pressures are real. Our portfolio has some real winners with high occupancy, but we have some we are worried about. So, does it make me nervous? Yes, because I have been through these pressures a couple times—1999 and 2008. I don’t think we are there, but I do think about it. …[To get through it], Stick to the basics, but don’t be afraid to continue to innovate.”

Rod Burkett, CEO of Gardant Management Solutions, on positioning senior housing providers as partners in the greater health landscape, such as with organizations like ACOs:

“I can’t say that we’re that far in depth [in terms of] joint venture kinds of partnerships, but I think their interest is in what our resident outcomes are. In the assisted living industry we have had to step up our game. We need to be able to speak their language and document quality, prove quality, and be able to interact with hospitals. …I think it’s property by property, community by community. Is it a strong point of ours as an industry? No, not yet. But all of the software companies that court this industry, they see it, they’re getting there [with] the benchmarks we need to prove resident outcomes, reduction of falls, hospital readmissions, ER returns — you know, tracking those key indicators. It’s coming fast.”

Terri Cunliffe, president and chief executive officer of Covenant Retirement Communities, on how today’s resident is changing and redefining expectations:

“I think where the residents are changing is in their need to know. I think [after] 2008, with the economic debacle, the trust of corporations went down a lot. I think residents now are more interested in hearing more, knowing more, they’re more conscious about the financials, and they have more to say about policies and practices.”

As the industry continues to change, community leaders need to embrace new and innovative ways of overcoming their biggest challenges. For many executives, that means leveraging technology as a means of improving operations and resident care.

To learn more about how senior living executives are using technology to drive their competitive edge, click here.

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