What’s that? What did you say? This sector of health care is on the skids! There is no future in this business.
Well, stand aside for a different opinion. It is Fourth of July Weekend. It is a time to be patriotic and also a time for optimism. There may be many changes facing the senior industry, but there are also bright horizons.
Out of Disaster Comes Opportunity
We are coming out of a pandemic, the worst health crisis this country has faced in a hundred years. But first, we’re still here. Second, senior care has been inordinately affected by the Great Resignation. Labor, which was always a problem for all levels of the industry, is even more acute.
The challenges don’t stop there, either. If you are an SNF, there is low census, more onerous demands by the government, more paperwork, and more justification. Many investors are getting out of the industry.
But there are also other investors getting in, along with those in leadership and management roles. They see it as a time when the industry may be more open to needed changes.
“I think a lot of people who are in that recovery stage post-Covid are going to look at these next couple of years as an integral or pivotal time for them to see if they can kind of bounce back to historical performance, and if they see that they’re not I think they may look at that as the right time for them to exit or move on,” said Eitan Zeffren, founder and CEO of Pearl Healthcare in a recent article in skilled Nursing News, How the Newest Crop of Nursing Home Operators Are Challenging the Status Quo.”
But we are also reminded that serious challenges are often an opportunity for serious change.
“It’s fun being somebody that’s new because you can kind of challenge the status quo,” added COO Austin Steele of Envive Healthcare in the same article. “We can try to be a little bit more nimble with some of the things that we might be able to do with our teams.”
New Faces in the Industry
The ranks of senior care leadership and management are also not immune to the “silver tsunami” coming to the U.S. People will choose to retire. We will continue to see new faces. Hats off to those who are leaving. They have seen us through the pandemic and, in many cases, kept their facilities open out of pure will and the ability to do a lot with few resources.
Those new faces, however, will be full of fresh new ideas. They will also be armed with an openness to a more technology-based approach to solving problems.
The Need for Senior Care is Not Going Away
The demographics all point to a continued need for senior care at all levels: senior housing, assisted living, long-term care, and skilled nursing. Many of the maladies that have plagued older Americans are now manageable, but they often call for specialized long-term care. The numbers were cited in a blog post from these pages only a few weeks ago.
The number of Americans 65 and older is anticipated to double in the next forty years.
More than half of them will need long-term care services at some point.
The number of seniors over 85 (those most likely to need post-acute and senior care services) will more than quadruple in the next 20 years.
In 2019, an estimated one out of five employees was a caretaker outside the workplace, many caring for older parents and relatives. That number has only increased since the pandemic.
The average productivity loss was almost 11% per employee with caregiving responsibilities, translating to a cost of $5,281 per caregiving employee. The employer generally absorbs those productivity losses.
These numbers are not sustainable if the U.S. economy is to make a full recovery and continue to be an engine for jobs and innovation.
State Governments Are Getting Involved in the Solution to Senior Care
Kaiser Health News recently reported on the WA Cares Fund, a long-term care benefit in Washington state. It is paid through a payroll tax. The program has had fits and starts. The commencement day was recently pushed back from January 2023 to July 2023 for some fine-tuning, and benefits won’t become available until January 2026, but it is a start.
Kaiser Health News added that other states are watching the Washington program. California has implemented a task force to investigate a long-term care plan. Michigan and Illinois are also looking at options.
Bonnie Burns, a consultant for California Health Advocates, told Kaiser, “We don’t have a solution at the federal level, so states are taking it on themselves to experiment with solutions.”
The Federal Government Will Have to Come Around
These individual state governments will lead the way, but the federal government will have to get in on the act. CareWork addressed this issue a few weeks ago in a blog post. When federal lawbreakers realize how debilitating the lack of a cohesive senior care program can affect the economy, they will be compelled to get into the act.
Leading the Technology in Senior Care and Making a Difference
CareWork is about centralizing data in your senior care operation. When senior care operations at all levels transition to a digital platform that connects all the data sources in a facility or community, it opens the door for a smoother-running operation. Leadership and management have a unified format that is easy to understand and interpret. They can make more intelligent business decisions.
The new workforce of managers and leaders will also be more amenable to embracing this technology. It has been with them their entire lives. They don’t remember a time without cell phones or computers. It is natural for them to think in terms of what the data can tell them.
CareWork is Here to Help
CareWork’s software platform pulls together all the data silos in your operations, whether you are a skilled nursing facility, assisted living or memory care community, or continuing care retirement community. CareWork provides leadership and management teams the ability to see vital information and make the best decisions.
The future of senior care is faced with challenges, but for those who choose this career, who choose to help ensure a quality life for an entire generation of Americans, there is also a great deal of excitement on the horizon. There will be new ways of doing things. There will be better outcomes. CareWork wants to be part of that excitement.
Interested? Call us today or visit our website.