Q: Will 2018 be a year of opportunity or challenge?

A: It will depend on your individual performance. Just two current issues can make a big difference: minimum wage impacts and CNA turnover trends.

Walmart recently announced an $11-per-hour entry-level worker compensation. Other businesses and cities are rapidly adopting a $12-to-$15 minimum wage requirement. Entry-level workers do not work exclusively at fast food outlets. They work for you in housekeeping, food and beverage, and several positions in direct care.

Further, other lower-paid workers expect to maintain approximately a $1.50 per hour premium over the prevailing minimum wage. Unemployment is low, and expensive employee turnover is increasing. Our analysis shows cash flow and operating profit margins are significantly affected in assisted living, memory care and nursing operations.

The availability of CNA workers is becoming critical. Operators increasingly are using expensive contract labor or workers provided by third-party agencies. There is a current preference by many CNAs to work at hospitals and home health agencies.

Jim Moore is president of Moore Diversified Services Inc., a national senior housing and healthcare consulting firm based in Fort Worth, TX, that has been serving clients for 46 years. He has authored five books about senior living and healthcare, including Assisted Living Strategies for Changing Markets and Independent Living and CCRCs. He recently was inducted as part of the inaugural class of the American Seniors Housing Association’s Senior Living Hall of Fame. Moore can be reached at (817) 731-4266 or jimmoore@m-d-s.com