What is the greatest shortcoming seen among senior living operators today?
A fair answer to that question obviously should be preceded by an acknowledgement of the great work senior living operators actually perform. Each day, this sector does a heroic job of making life better for people who need a little help — and sometimes a lot more.
Still, there is a prevalent issue that undermines this field: Operators don’t go to trade shows nearly enough. For reasons that can include time constraints, costs and other pressing concerns, this opportunity gets overlooked all too often.
Yes, there are costs involved with schlepping to a trade show. But from a return-on-investment perspective, there are few other ways operators can become better informed, or find new ways to stay competitive (along with reading McKnight’s Senior Living each business day, of course).
So, what’s to be gained by attending a show? Four benefits immediately come to mind.
First and foremost are the unmatched networking opportunities. These events bring together your colleagues, as well as industry experts and relevant vendors — all under one roof. Such gatherings foster networking and collaboration that can help your senior living organization become more successful.
Secondly, they are a great way to gain market insights. Trade shows can quickly reveal the latest trends, emerging technologies and what your competition is up to. Attending these shows empowers you to make more informed decisions and adapt strategies that might have otherwise remained hidden.
Thirdly — and this is often underestimated — they offer valuable educational opportunities. From workshops and breakout sessions to keynote presentations, they help reveal insights, best practices and emerging research to keep you at the top of your game.
Finally, they allow you to discover existing and new products/services that can benefit your organization. Although the term “solutions” sometimes is overused by vendors, what’s on offer at many booths often indeed can solve problems or unearth new opportunities.
Funny enough, we are on the brink of a busy season for trade shows that directly or indirectly affect senior living operators:
- The American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living kicks off its annual convention in Denver Oct. 1-4.
- Two weeks later, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice’s annual event takes place outside Washington.
- The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care will hold its fall show in Chicago on Oct. 23-25.
- The Windy City is also the setting for LeadingAge’s annual event. That show takes place Nov. 5-7.
I invite you to consider attending one or more of these shows. Especially if you have never been to an industry event before. Yes, it may be hard to break away from your regular duties for a few days. But to paraphrase Sheryl Crow, you might discover that the change would do you good.
John O’Connor is editorial director for McKnight’s Senior Living and its sister media brands, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, which focuses on skilled nursing, and McKnight’s Home Care. Read more of his columns here.