COMMUNITY 2012, the annual ALFA conference and expo brings together leading senior living executives from around the world for executive-level educational seminars, peer-to-peer collaboration, and professional networking.
The conference program features Angels Among Us: A Celebration of Heroes in Senior Living. During this luncheon, May 17, 2012, five ALFA Hero Award winners will be recognized for championing quality of life for the residents they serve and their embrace of the resident-centered philosophy of senior living.
"The 2012 ALFA Hero Award winners are exemplars of the great work done every day in senior living communities across the country," said Richard P. Grimes, President and CEO of ALFA. "Their dedication and passion for serving seniors are the reasons more older adults choose to call senior living communities their home."
Five of senior living's most entrepreneurial CEOs shared insights about the continued growth of the senior living business. Joining Moderator Pat Mulloy, president and CEO of Senior Care, Inc were company heads, Timothy Buchanan of Legend Senior Living, Brenda Bacon of Brandywine Senior Living, Todd Novaczyk of New Perspectives Senior Living and Marilyn Duker of Brightview Senior Living.
The group discussed a variety of topics of the minds of senior living CEO today. The group started outlining the state of their businesses. Many are starting to see some rate growth opportunities and occupancy is improving, although slight.
The threat of over regulation of senior living was also on the minds of CEOs. "We need to go encourage policymakers and regulators to come out to our communities and let them experience the life enrichment that is going on and let them talk to your residents, otherwise, they'll never know. We can help educate them and show what we do for these wonderful 85 year olds," said Novaczyk.
"We need to stop playing catch-up on regulations," added Bacon. "It's time for us to go on the offense and reach out to regulators and show why we're different than institutional models."
Exhibits at the ALFA 2011 Expo also sparked a discussion about technology integration into communities. "We're in the midst of a strategic plan, and we are looking at the technology that is out there," said Duker. "We are looking at things that improve quality care, not so much on what technology will save us money," she added. Duker's company is also looking introducing iPads to direct care managers and nurses to update service plans.
"Technology in many formats is going to be so important, as we are being evaluating by folks who are potentially going to be giving us money as we build new communities: being up to date technologically is crucial," added Novaczyk.
The rising cost of health care benefits for employees was not forgotten in this conversation. The CEOs all embraced the belief incentivizing employees to stay healthy is one way to control costs. "One community has started a weight watchers program," said Duker. "Another community provides yoga classes, and cash incentives for associates who stay with the program for 3 months or more," she continued.