Editors' Columns

Editors’ Columns

John O'Connor

Buckle up, buttercup

If the Democrats manage to run the table, it’s a whole new ball game. Here’s what senior living operators soon might see.

John O'Connor's Columns

‘That’s what we should sell: peace of mind’

It’s probably safe to say that the number of operators who will look back at 2020 as the good old days will be low indeed. The How-Did-We-Survive? days might be more like it. And yet, cause for optimism remains.

It’s not just residents who are suffering

This insidious virus has been harsh on the elderly among us – especially your residents – who are getting sick and dying in disproportionate numbers. As bad as that reality is – and it is terrible – it hardly accounts for all the pain in our midst.

Senior living could use a traitor like this

For my money, what the field could really use – perhaps even more so than targeted retooling – is a person along the lines of a John C. Bogle. Or better yet, more than one.

For senior living operators, two new problems might soon emerge

We are hearing much about how the future of senior living will be different. Buildings will be less virus friendly, ventilation systems will improve, infection control practices will get better and marketing messages will change, according to the experts. But there are two looming challenges that we’re not hearing much about: labor and lawsuits.

Uncle Sam, protector of senior living?

As bad as this year has been, observant operators have learned an important lesson: the government considers senior living too important to fail.

Memories are made of this

In all our lives, there are things that happen. And then there are events that are so profound they become the pillars of our collective memory. For the senior living sector, COVID-19 has the potential to become one such pillar.

Senior living’s slide into the welfare class

The push for support for assisted living from Uncle Sam is intensifying. But as any skilled care operator will remind you, Uncle Sam tends to be a very demanding business partner.

Lois Bowers' Columns

A pandemic-perfect gift for the women in your work life

The early bird deadline for the McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards, with reduced entry fee, is this Wednesday. The final deadline is Jan. 6. This year’s awards competition includes a new category.

Pining for the workforce challenges of 2019

As we pass the nine-month mark since the first known case of coronavirus arrived in a U.S. long-term care facility, a new survey provides more evidence that the pandemic has exacerbated long-standing workforce issues in senior living, skilled nursing and healthcare.

Pandemic is ‘pie in our face’ and opportunity for change, speakers say

With many legislators and members of the lay media focusing their attention on long-term care due to the coronavirus pandemic, now may be an opportune time to educate these audiences about the industry and its needs, said panelists last week at a LeadingAge Annual Meeting Virtual Experience keynote session.

No side of COVID with my turkey

I’ll make my mother’s dressing recipe, a family favorite, and the rest of the meal, for two instead of 20, and at some point during the day, I hope to join my siblings and their families for a video chat.

The ‘bright spots’ of COVID

As senior living and skilled nursing professionals joined together to work through pandemic-related challenges, new connections were made and long-term friendships were formed. Those are some of the “bright spots” of COVID-19, LeadingAge Board of Directors Chair Carol Silver Elliott said Tuesday when delivering the keynote address opening the 2020 LeadingAge Annual Meeting Virtual Experience.

Parkinson ponders post-election landscape

Regardless of how long we need to wait after Election Day until we know the results, they will have “enormous implications on everything, including long-term care,” American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted-Living President and CEO Mark Parkinson told those listening to LTC Properties’ third-quarter earnings call on Friday.

Assisted living: Not so hidden anymore

Scott Tittle used to say that assisted living was hiding in plain sight, but “the reality is, more people have begun to actually see us amidst COVID,” the National Center for Assisted Living executive director said. That visibility can be both good and bad.

Fall conference season: A new, virtual reality

Our professional and personal lives have been upended in ways we would not have imagined a year ago. Some conferences have been canceled, and others have been rescheduled and moved online. But fall conference season has begun.

A special week during an unusual time

If ever there was a year that “Caring is Essential,” it is 2020. Indeed, the theme of this year’s National Assisted Living Week (with an emphasis on the AL in essential), which began Sunday, is very appropriate.

Training could help employee retention, survey says

In the midst of a pandemic, when your organization is trying to keep up with and adhere to local, state and national regulations and orders to keep residents and staff members safe and healthy, staff training on human resources issues may not be foremost in your plans. Yet as recruiting and retaining workers continue to be challenges in senior living, a new survey suggests the importance of such training.

Combatting ‘another pandemic’ related to COVID-19

When coronavirus hit the U.S., Buckner Retirement Services’ CCRCs “acted swiftly” to protect residents and employees, Senior Vice President Charlie Wilson says. “But as the situation lingers, we are seeing another pandemic affect residents: loneliness,” he adds. Buckner and LeadingAge Texas have a plan.

Take heart in older adults’ resiliency

We’ve heard a lot lately about the loneliness and isolation that some residents — and their families — are feeling during the pandemic. These feelings are real, and there are real consequences of the separation of residents and their loved ones. Nonetheless, I took some comfort in the results of a recent study.

New book can help you welcome LGBT residents

Tim R. Johnston, Ph.D., senior director of national projects for LGBT elder advocacy organization SAGE, spent a year and a half working on his new book, “Welcoming LGBT Residents: A Practical Guide for Senior Living Staff.” He recently answered some questions for me about the book and its subject matter as well as his work at SAGE.
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