John O'Connor illustration
McKnight’s Editorial Director John O’Connor
John O'Connor
John O’Connor

Does the following scenario sound familiar?

You live near a major city chock full of attractions. Plenty of great restaurants. Fantastic museums. Tons of cultural attractions. Yet you hardly ever get there.

It pretty much describes my relationship with Chicago. For reasons that range from hassle-avoidance to sheer laziness, I rarely take advantage of the many awesome things that are just a short drive away.

It’s unfortunate that such wonderful places can be taken for granted. Or worse, ignored. But it happens to other victims as well, including senior living operators.

You provide care and comfort to many thousands of people each day. But is that what everyone is talking about? Hardly.

Much of the conversation visa vis senior living revolves around problems. Higher costs for products and services. Staffing challenges. Complaints about the food. The list continues, and it continues to be mostly negative.

So it’s nice to get a reminder every now and then that it’s not all. Bad. One such reminder came earlier this week in Las Vegas, at the CES show.

Michael Milken, chairman of the institute that bears his name, spoke at length about the economic clout and opportunities our nation’s seniors are — and will be — accountable for.

He noted that $43 trillion in economic activity is going to be generated by people aged more than 50 years old around the world by 2050.

A decent chunk of that will surely be related to senior living.

Milken also spoke about ways senior living operators (and others) have an opportunity to improve care and living for the oldest among us by making better use of tech tools.

“Technology has brought us longer, healthier lives — and we’re just at the beginning,” he said. But here’s the thing: senior living operators already are doing exactly that.

From wearables to pizza-serving robots to managing data in ways that improve care and the bottom line, senior living is getting it done. And the sector just getting started.

So here’s to senior living operators everywhere. You may not get the attention or credit you deserve. But it’s nice to know you’re around.

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.

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