InterFace Seniors Housing Midwest: Conference Breakdown

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Braedon Alldredge
Account Executive (SL)
InterFace Seniors Housing Midwest '24, Chicago, IL

Djo said it best with the lyric, “And when I’m back in Chicago, I feel it.” Shane Larson and I walked away from the InterFace Seniors Housing Midwest conference with striking insight and a clearer perspective on the senior living industry and how we can better operate as a technology provider in this industry. Here’s the lowdown on our learnings:

In true Senior Sign fashion, let’s start with tech!

  1. Know what you’re measuring. It’s crucial to have specific metrics when evaluating your tech stack. What’s working? What’s not? Does this technology align with your mission? Does this platform solve real issues? Keep track of the data to make informed decisions. 
  2. Basic tech first, AI later. If we’re not hearing about the election this year, we’re hearing about AI… and I don’t know about you, but we’re feeling the pressure. Before jumping into AI, ensure your basic tech stack is solid. In many ways, senior living is behind in tech – focus on building a strong infrastructure first before chasing the latest tech trends.
  3. Integration is key. When evaluating new technology, ask vendors for specific data points on integrations. Don’t just take “yes, we integrate” at face value. Make sure it integrates how you need it to integrate.
  4. Pilot fatigue is real. Communities get easily burned out with constant pilots. Instead, commit to a phased rollout. Start with the basics and add features gradually to keep everyone engaged.
  5. Effective implementation. Choose software not just for its features but for how well it can be implemented and adopted by your staff. A shiny new tool is useless if no one uses it.

Let’s shift gears to the financial side of things. Here’s what CEOs had to say about the current state of the industry: 

  1. New legislation on salaries. I’m sure you’re aware, but there’s a new mandate that caregiver salaries must be at least $58,000 by January 2025. While this is great for some areas, it’s challenging for others. The increased costs will likely be passed on to residents, so it’s essential to balance financial sustainability for incoming residents.
  2. Leverage your residents. In independent living, consider using residents to give tours or lead activities. It’s a win-win: residents get involved, and you save on staffing costs. A creative approach is to open classes to the broader community; it showcases your community and opens opportunities for connection outside of your campus.
  3. Building for now. There will be more people over 65 than under 18 in the next ten years. Build communities that cater to their current needs and preferences, not just stereotypical “old people” activities.

The keynote interview highlighted some exciting strategies and opportunities:

  1. Training Executive Directors. Train your new EDs at one of your best communities for two weeks before they start. This hands-on experience is proving to be invaluable. Middle management is the backbone of your operations, so invest in their development.
  2. Positive Outlook. Did you know there are 20% more senior living communities than McDonald’s in the U.S.? Plus, half of the nation’s wealth is controlled by baby boomers. There’s a lot of opportunity ahead, despite the challenges. This industry is larger than we give it credit for.

There you have it!

P.S. We are sales, so… if you have specific metrics you’re trying to measure or questions about what integrating a move-in solution like Senior Sign would look like we’d be happy to dive deeper. Feel free to reach out! Schedule here.

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