Spiezle Hosts 5th Annual “Aging Forward: What’s Next” Roundtable Event
Spiezle recently hosted its 5th consecutive “Aging Forward: What’s Next?” roundtable. The event was held this year at the campus of our long-time client Applewood Estates. A staple in the firm’s annual calendar, this exclusive event unites senior executives and thought leaders in the senior living space who specialize in various disciplines and functional areas. The event is structured to inspire attendees to share their most pressing challenges and growth opportunities and to give them space to create meaningful connections. The Spiezle team served as moderators to spur honest and open dialog around key questions such as “what are we doing as senior leaders to address the labor shortage?” “what is the future of skilled nursing, “how do we sustain affordable senior housing?” and “how do the industry and lawmakers support historically marginalized groups?” These questions sparked meaningful discourse and strategic planning on how to evolve the field and enforce beneficial change.
The senior living industry has had to navigate tremendous challenges over the past few years, including the scarcity of skilled labor, high turnover due to the exhaustion around the pandemic, historically low pay, and lack of advancement opportunities in the field. The spirited “what are we doing as senior leaders to address the labor shortage?” conversation brought to light many solutions, including making the vocation more desirable by matching market value wages, advocating to change legislation around pay and compensation, and integrating transportation, childcare, and cultural needs into employment packages to reflect the needs of the industry workforce. Technology also contributes to employee retention by upskilling the workforce to increase job satisfaction. It also boosts residents’ safety, freedom, and satisfaction by enhancing day-to-day activities such as tracking medication management, scheduling doctor and nurse practitioner visits, and expanding access to entertainment through the internet and television.
In addition to identifying ways to fairly compensate and meet the needs of employees, increase job satisfaction and retention, and enhance the overall day-to-day experience of workers, the conversation turned to “how to sustain affordable senior housing?” With housing funding programs seemly drying up, addressing the issue seems more important than ever. By looking for unconventional partnerships or alternatives, operators, developers, and design professionals can work together to develop creative ways to secure subsidized support of affordable models for basic housing and workforce housing in ways that may even help the State and municipalities meet mandates and develop revenue streams. With this support, the opportunity to increase services, such as on-site childcare for staff, will bolster staff retention and satisfaction.
The question of “how do the industry and lawmakers support historically marginalized groups?” has been a consistent topic in roundtable discussions over the past few years. To facilitate meaningful discussion, the attendees broke into groups during the diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) part of the session. The consensus is that there are many opportunities for improvement to help provide more meaningful experiences and results within the industry for all. Understanding the culture within an organization is sometimes the most challenging work. Because of this, extra care and focus should be placed on informing stakeholders about policies that have resulted in the lack of access. It’s also important to increase representation across all aspects of the senior living business operations, including suppliers, vendors, and workforce.
“We are proud this event gives senior living leaders the forum and opportunity to engage in conversations around current industry challenges, and provides an arena to openly discuss and discover solutions to improve the state of senior living,” said Rich Quinn, Senior Living Principal at Spiezle. “We look forward to our next event, during which we hope to celebrate real advancement on these issues.”