Bob Kramer headshot
Bob Kramer, founder of Nexus Insights, and co-founder, strategic adviser and former CEO, National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care

Six social, technologic and economic trends will drive the future of senior living, and providers will need to respond to them soon, according to industry thought leader Robert Kramer.

Kramer, Nexus Insights founder and fellow and co-founder of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, in a NIC blog post challenged the sector to manage the changes that lie ahead. He noted six realities:

  1. The pandemic altered the way senior living works and ushered in the third generation of senior living.
  2. The endemic staffing crisis will continue; providers will need to determine how to recruit and retain the best workers.
  3. New customers want their lifespans to match their healthspan or wellspans. “We need an engagement view of aging and retirement shaped by growth and opportunity, not by deficits and decline,” Kramer wrote.
  4. The industry must reframe the focus on health and healthcare; no more sick care. 
  5. Operators must harness data and analytics to transform the industry. In the future, Kramer said, market data will be coupled with personalized health, genomic, social determinants of health, lifestyle and psychographic data, and it will be aggregated by local market.
  6. There will be a shift from fragmented, single-point healthcare solutions and technology applications to integrated, longitudinal solutions that can apply to general settings, diseases and payers.

“The challenge for leaders has been to manage the crisis, but at the same time to build for the future,” Kramer said. “That’s where our industry finds itself today.”

The industry, he added, is facing internal and external threats. Internally, the senior living workforce is dealing with physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. Externally, the sector faces competitors looking to serve potential older adults in a better and less expensive manner. 

The depletion of energy and resources, Kramer said, is a classic prescription for “disruptive innovation.” 

Kramer wrote about the trends as part of a new blog post series. Future posts, he said, will delve more deeply into each trend in what he hopes will drive discussion for the industry.