I recently attended the Senior Housing News BUILD conference in Chicago, which focused on for-profit providers. As CEO of a nonprofit provider, I was intrigued by hearing what industry leaders on the other side of the aisle had to say. Here are just a few of the gems that stuck with me:
• From Jack Callison, CEO of Sunrise Senior Living: Paraphrasing his inspiring message, the “industry” needs to flip its paradigm from “How can we fix you?” (i.e. we can support you through any chronic conditions, cognitive changes, mobility changes) to “What do you aspire to?”
I love how this directly combats ageist mindsets and challenges both providers and residents to think differently about their aging journeys.
• Also from Jack Callison, again paraphrasing: “Yes is the answer, what is your question?”
This gets to the heart of how a senior living community can help its residents achieve their true potentials. No matter where we are in life, if we can start with “yes” as the answer to our own aspirational questions and then figure out pathways to a solution, we can create the blueprint for a fulfilling life.
• Take care of your staff! Beyond wages and benefits, how can a senior living community create supportive environments for staff? We know how to care for our residents, but how are we caring for our staff? How are we supporting them through the challenging though gratifying work they do?
We heard lots of interesting ideas around designing spaces for staff restoration and rejuvenation.
• Build for intergenerational connections. Creating opportunities for older adults and younger generations to engage and learn from each can be profound in its impact to everyone.
Brenda Bacon, the inspiring leader from Brandywine communities, shared a similar intergenerational philosophy driving her organization’s endeavors. We love our Intergenerational Children’s Center at Bayview, and it’s exciting to see how more opportunities to develop and support intergenerational relationships are growing in senior living in innovative ways.
• Learn from your differences! It’s easy to have an us versus them mindset in anything and everything we do. The learning happens when we reach across the aisle and celebrate our differences (non-profit versus for-profit in this case) while appreciating the thread that unites our better selves and our humanity.
And on that note, wishing all Queen Anne & Magnolia News readers a meaningful and joyful holiday season.
Nancy Weinbeck is the CEO of Bayview senior living community in Queen Anne.