NIC Notes

Insights in Seniors Housing & Care

By: NIC  |  September 25, 2023

NIC Talks: Challenge Conventional Thinking

Ideas and Discussion  |  NIC Fall Conference


Session speakers kickstart inspiration.  

Radical customer engagement can drive business growth. Healthcare and senior living can co-exist to open new possibilities. 

These are just two of the provocative topics to be explored during the NIC Talks session at the 2023 NIC Fall Conference. Four dynamic speakers will each give a 12-minute TED-style talk on innovative approaches to senior living. Other topics include the effective use of artificial intelligence and how to sort through technology offerings.  

“Attendees will hear ideas that challenge established ways of thinking,” said Bob Kramer, NIC Co-Founder/Strategic Advisor and Founder at Nexus Insights. “Innovative perspectives can create new opportunities.”   

The 2023 NIC Fall Conference will be held October 23-25 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Chicago. NIC Talks will be a featured Main Stage session on Tuesday, October 24. Kramer will curate the session.  

Two speakers recently previewed their talks. Caroline Pearson will relate a personal experience to explain how connecting healthcare and housing can boost move-ins and margins. Speaker Gerard van Grinsven will detail how to create a hospitality-inspired strategy—an experience blueprint—to outperform customer expectations and deliver superior results. 

Garard van Grinsven (1)Van Grinsven, renowned for his extensive luxury hotel industry experience, passionately emphasizes the importance of crafting an irresistible value proposition that renders customers indispensable. He articulates his unwavering customer-centric philosophy, by urging businesses to embrace a paradigm-shifting mindset. 

With executive stints at the Ritz-Carlton organization, the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, and the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, van Grinsven unveils the key to his remarkable success: a resolute departure from conventional thinking, guided by his steadfast commitment to satisfying customers' unexpressed desires. 

During his tenure at Henry Ford Hospital, van Grinsven dedicated an immersive six-month period to personally visiting local families before the hospital's grand opening, unearthing their deepest healthcare preferences—unlike conventional focus groups which often fail to capture the subtleties of unspoken aspirations. Instead, he embarked on in-home journeys with prospective customers, unearthing their needs and true desires. The outcome catapulted the hospital to the pinnacle of national rankings for patient engagement scores. 

Moreover, van Grinsven underscores the importance of extending this ethos of engagement to the employees, an imperative made even more pressing in today's challenging workforce landscape. He strongly encourages organizations to earnestly explore avenues to enrich workplace culture with unwavering trust, respect, and dignity. 

As he embarks on the launch of a visionary luxury lifestyle boutique hotel management company, van Grinsven reiterates the importance of valuing team members, a commitment that both curtails turnover rates, and engenders a deeper emotional connection with customers. 

Van Grinsven anticipates his NIC Talks presentation will inspire attendees to vigorously reassess their modus operandi, by severing the shackles of conventional thinking and embracing innovation and dedication to customer-centricity." 

Housing and Healthcare Can Co-Exist 

caroline-pearsonNIC Talks speaker Pearson has long been puzzled by the divide between healthcare and housing in the senior housing market. She is currently the Executive Director of the Peterson Center on Healthcare. Pearson is already familiar to the NIC audience. She was formerly the Head of Healthcare Strategy at NORC at the University of Chicago, a research organization, and led the seminal NIC study, “The Forgotten Middle.”  

Based on her work on the middle market, Pearson views healthcare as an integral component of the senior housing value proposition. “It’s particularly true for those who do not have the resources to easily afford senior housing,” she said.  

Many older people believe they want to age in place, but they reconsider when health, cognition, and mobility issues arise. The stairs are hard to climb. It’s difficult to get to the doctor’s office. “The industry continues to sell lifestyle, community and purpose, which are critically important, but we should embrace what people also need which is a safe caring environment to help them live well.”  

For senior living providers, specific changes might include creating a clinic space on the property for healthcare providers to see residents, and a system to easily handle virtual doctor visits. “Those are huge value adds,” said Pearson.  

Healthcare services, in some form, represent a huge opportunity to broaden the senior housing market, she added. Also, the healthcare system will benefit by closing its gaps in care. The healthcare workforce isn’t large enough to deliver healthcare individually to people in their homes. “Senior housing operators have the geographic efficiency of having residents together,” she said.  

The senior living industry doesn’t want to be seen as the sick care industry. They want to be the place where the vibrant last stage of life can take place. But, Pearson noted, “Those two ideas do not have to be in conflict if operators embrace the integration of housing and healthcare.”



About NIC

The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to support access and choice for America’s seniors by providing data, analytics, and connections that bring together investors and providers.

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