Editors' Columns

Editors’ Columns

John O'Connor's Columns

Down and out in senior living

We soon could find ourselves dealing with a whole new kind of lost generation. One that’s made up of the very workers your organization will presumably need to dig out.

Staffing challenges are easy to see, hard to fix

It’s not exactly a secret that the field could do a better job of luring good candidates and making sure they do their jobs well. So why isn’t that happening? In a word, economics.

Here’s to the losers

I wonder how many in this sector have the guts to to do what Dick Butkus did: Bring their A game every day, knowing full well that it’s not going to be anywhere near enough?

So, how’s your dash coming along?

It’s a great irony of senior living that while we are surrounded by people nearing the end of their journey, we don’t tend to think much about our own.

A very troubling $56 billion question

Considering some of the alternatives, I’m far from convinced that bankrupting Medicare for the sake of Aduhelm would be money well spent.

A sector in disarray?

Senior living may be on the cusp of an extremely interesting and critical era.

Trust me: This will improve workers’ vaccination rates

Many millions of the adults remain unvaccinated — including many who work in the senior living field — have no intention of ever getting a shot. To senior living operators, that is — or at least should be — a very troubling reality.

Senior living’s unspoken debt problem

Many of your employees sure could use some debt relief. If you happen to be the agent of such assistance, you’d be more than a benevolent soul. You also might be the operator whose recruitment and retention challenges have all but disappeared.

How’d you find comfort during the pandemic year?

My guess is that there is not a person reading this who has not dealt with a COVID-19-related caregiving, service or operational challenge. And it’s probably a safe bet that most of us have had to make notable adjustments affecting our non-work hours as well.

First they came for skilled care …

Did you hear that Humana will pay $5.7 billion to wrest control of Kindred at Home? Of course you didn’t. That’s a home care issue, not senior living. It’s hardly the kind of news that might affect your organization, right? Maybe not. But then again, maybe it’s exactly the kind of development that’s worth keeping an eye on.

They play games, you pay the price

Last week, the Biden administration withdrew Texas’s Medicaid waiver. This week, Republican Sen. John Cornyn responded in, well, unkind.

Lois Bowers' Columns

More bragging rights for senior living

The much-anticipated “silver wave” is about to hit senior living, and waiting for it is an expanding number of tools to help prospective residents and their families select new places to live and to help operators draw those consumers’ attention to specific companies and communities. A new such tool launched today.

43 friends in the Senate

The drumbeat continues for more funding to help senior living and care providers simply survive in the wake of all of the pandemic-related expenses they have incurred. Or simply the release of funding that already has been promised.

Could a national vaccine mandate be coming to senior living?

Following Wednesday’s announcement that COVID-19 vaccines will be mandated by the federal government for nursing homes, could a similar national requirement be in store for senior living? It might be if long-term care industry associations get their wish.

Say it loud, say it proud

Let’s celebrate those workplaces where a high level of vaccination has been achieved and those employees who have taken this step to protect themselves and those they serve.

1.5 million reasons not to ‘rob’ senior living to pay for roads, bridges and sewer pipes

Senior living and care leaders turned up the pressure on members of Congress on Friday, pointing out the dangers associated with a rumored plan to take $24 billion away from the Provider Relief Fund — meant to help operators with COVID-19-related costs — and repurpose those dollars to help pay for a bipartisan $953 billion infrastructure bill.

Vigilance must continue

Those working in senior living know that the pandemic is not over. You live with the ramifications every day as you take precautions to try to keep staff members, residents and their families healthy and safe. Sometimes, however, things happen despite best efforts, and the news this week brought sobering reminders that vigilance must continue.

Paying for loneliness in years and health

A new study adds to the evidence of the negative effects of loneliness on older adults, this time linking it to life expectancy as well as overall health and the need for assistance with activities of daily living.

Get reacquainted with 51 fabulous women

Thanks to the McKnight’s summer interns, you have the opportunity to learn more about the 2021 McKnight’s Women of Distinction beginning today.

Want to live longer? Be optimistic

Being optimistic can help people live longer, even at the age of 85 or 90, according to the results of a recent study. But how can people increase optimism?

‘Most sought after’ is a good position to be in

With senior living occupancy seemingly having bottomed out and now trending upward for several providers as the effects of the pandemic wane, more good news recently came for the senior living industry, especially assisted living.

New research could help attract residents, but a to-do list remains

Senior living operators received some good news last week with the publication of the results of a long-awaited study of COVID mortality rates in the United States in residential senior housing and care settings. But operators still have a to-do list to help attract and reassure prospective residents and their families.

Vim and vigor at the ripe old age of 50

Maybe Phil Mickelson’s recent accomplishment will remind people that 50-year-olds still have plenty of vim and vigor. In a recent survey, people just a few years older than him provided some insights into how they wish to be perceived. The findings may be helpful to those working in senior living.

Carrot or stick?

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s incentive to encourage COVID vaccination may be the biggest, but he’s not the only state or city official trying to entice residents to get the shot. And government entities are not the only ones using the carrot approach.

Could ideas from senators, CEO help fix senior living workforce woes?

Two senators are asking the Department of Labor to “prioritize supporting older workers,” and the head of the National Council on Aging has put forth a potentially even bigger idea: that the Labor Department establish an “Older Workers Bureau.” Could their efforts help solve the senior living industry’s biggest challenge, finding and keeping competent employees?

Continue to be careful

Recent COVID-19 outbreaks among vaccinated residents at senior living communities are a reminder that we all should continue to be careful.

Barking up the wrong tree

It appears that the senior living industry remains misunderstood, if reports of a famous rock musician and his wife are accurate.

To know us is to love us? New effort could boost interest in long-term care careers

Attracting medical school graduates to enter geriatrics is a challenge, as evidenced by their recent fellowship choices. Beyond that, however, is the challenge of interesting geriatricians — as well as internal medicine physicians, family practitioners, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals — to practice in long-term care facilities. AMDA–The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine may have an answer.
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