Editors' Columns

Editors’ Columns

John O'Connor's Columns

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.

Is this rock bottom for senior living?

Some operators have fled the market. Others soon may follow. More than a few are wondering whether their business model is built for the long haul. All in all, this is not what might be called a fun time to be in senior living.

A shipshape approach to senior living?

What are the biggest barriers to affordable seniors housing Lately, this issue has received considerable discussion and some debate. For my money, two challenges rise above the rest.

Coming to terms with senior living

So if you are not quite sure what bucket you belong in right now, here’s my advice: Don’t get too amped up. Just wait a few years. Chances are, better than good that a new term will be coming your way.

Before the fall

Recent trends related to falls among older adults should alarm senior living operators. Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to reduce fall risks and their consequences. Even if your residents don’t thank you, your insurer, attorney and bottom line will.

Temporary relief for senior living’s biggest challenge?

Ask any senior living operator what fuels the most semi-sleepless nights, and you’d best settle in for a lengthy conversation. From COVID-19’s massive destruction, to tougher competition, to increased regulatory oversight, to more lawsuits, to higher insurance costs and more, the list goes on. It also seems to grow by the day. But there is…

Senior living operators better brace for new labor pains

An undeniable consequence of the November elections is that Democrats now rule the roost in Washington. And it appears that one of their first orders of business is to rebalance labor relations — and not in ways most managers are likely to welcome.

Mind if I cut in?

Given the high demand for COVID-19 vaccines and a very limited supply, line-jumping seems to be emerging as our new national pastime.

Senior living braces for a workplace shift

From strictly a policy perspective, President Trump was more of a business person’s ally. But he was defeated by a man who promised to bring a lot of change. And this week we got a real taste of how that promise might be kept.

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.

Lois Bowers' Columns

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.

Is it too soon to lift public health mandates?

We know from previous research that stopping the spread of COVID in the greater community can help stop it within long-term care facilities. So is now the time to lift state-wide mask mandates and permit 100% occupancy in businesses?

COVID, one year later

At this time a year ago, we still were unsure what the coronavirus would mean for the industry, for the country or for us personally. Now, effects are clear, even if we still don’t know all of the answers.

A big list for the small screen

If you’re like many over the past year, you’ve been spending more time inside than usual, often in front of a television, streaming or otherwise watching series and movies. A new list provides some new ideas for resident recommendations, programming or your personal life.

Drumroll, please

The wait is almost over. Wednesday, we begin announcing the 2021 McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards.

New insights into how to attract residents

There’s a lot to take in related to the American Seniors Housing Association’s second national consumer survey, conducted in December with ProMatura. Results were released Monday.

Information to arm you against vaccine hesitancy among older adults

As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out to assisted living and independent living communities — having not reached some of those communities yet — two new surveys shed some light on feelings about vaccination among older adults, messages that motivate them to get vaccinated, and the people and places to which they expect to turn when making a decision.

A new day in the battle against COVID

We all can agree that we’d like to see an end to the illness and death caused by the coronavirus. We’d like families and residents to be able to hug one another again. We’d like to stop having to wear PPE and stop having to stay six feet apart from each other.

4 lessons for senior living from 2020

Five senior living industry leaders recently took the time to share with me — for you — their insights into the biggest challenges that faced owners and operators in 2020 and the challenges they will face in 2021. I’ve gleaned four lessons for the senior living industry for this year.

Vaccine advice from your peers

Many are viewing the vaccine as a gift of sorts, a solution to end the months of extra safety precautions and social isolation that everyone has endured. But if you have staff members or residents who remain leery, your fellow operators have some suggestions to alleviate their concerns.
Next post in Editors' Columns