How to Fix Senior Living

A new task force’s recommended urgent changes, and some reality checks. 


Given the steep number of COVID-19 deaths and cases in nursing homes and lack of PPE there; the recent inability to see loved ones in assisted living and retirement communities as well as the poor pandemic communication between many operators and families of their residents, is it any wonder that senior living (also called senior housing) now has a giant black eye?

Boomers in particular — children of most senior living residents and potential senior living inhabitants themselves  — often have issues with the way the $250 billion industry is run and what it offers, or doesn’t.


For many, said Robert Kramer, the insightful founder and strategic adviser to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), “they don’t want anything to do with it,” because of what’s happened during the pandemic.


Some boomers have seen senior living as senior dying.

In particular, boomers lacking personal experience with senior housing, Kramer said, “have mostly seen senior living as senior dying; that’s where you’re going to die.”


It’s why the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) brought together 154 senior living industry leaders and analysts to form a task force and spent three months knocking out the new report: Creating a Path Toward the ‘Next Normal’ in Senior Living.


The ICAA report noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has “dramatically affected the operations of all senior living organizations, costing jobs, billions in lost revenue and the emerging effects of social isolation, declines in cognitive and physical function and loss of spiritual and social engagement.” It laid out what the task force said were six strategies to better serve residents, staff and families…


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