A Fireside Chat with Newt Gingrich and a Dynamic Group of Senior Living Operators

Last week, I was invited by Justin Hutchens to facilitate a discussion among participants for the NHI Customer Appreciation event. Before sharing what was on operator’s minds, I want to take a moment and share my thoughts on the guest speaker, Newt Gingrich.

Listening to Newt talk was like sitting around a fireside chat. As a political and news junkie, I couldn’t help but transport myself into his stories. I was there as Newt and President Clinton stood on the White House Balcony in conversation when Bill said, “You know those blow up toys with sand in the bottom, the kind you punch and it falls over only to pop back up? I’m just like that toy. I get knocked down but I always get back up.” Interesting…that definitely describes the Clintons.

Politics aside, whether or not you like these two men, each has a permanent place in history, and I found it fascinating to be privy to this private conversation — and there were many throughout his time with us. It was sort of like being in a time machine and witnessing history.

Newt concluded his talk with an “insider’s view” of the 2016 Presidential Candidates, both Democrat and Republican. Once again, I found it interesting how intimately he knew every candidate. While I imagine it was tempting for him to veer to one side of the aisle, I thought he actually did a good job of staying center and keeping politics out, as much as he could, of our time together.

The Burning Question

Quickly transitioning from Newt’s “fireside chat,” it was time to get to the more pressing issue of “What’s keeping you up at night?” At first…crickets. No one rushed to share their fears and concerns. After all, who wants to admit that they are worried about how baby boomers will pay for senior care when they’ve spent all their money, or that a surge in development is going to negatively impact their census? Yet, with some prodding, people began to open up. Here are a few discussions that are likely top-of-mind for you or maybe — like many in the room — keeping you up at night too:

  • Increased regulation
  • Litigation
  • Having enough caregivers to care for residents
  • Funding long-term care
  • Declining occupancy
  • Market saturation
  • Minimum wage increasing to $15/ hour
  • New operators that don’t understand the senior care business and may hurt the industry as a whole due to poor care, lawsuits, etc.

I really enjoyed this session, and only wish we had more time. Because once people started talking, the thoughts kept coming. I would love to hear what’s on your mind, or more importantly, what’s keeping you up at night. Take a moment and share your thoughts in the comment section or on social media, and let’s keep the conversation going.

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