Facilitating new connections is a part of NIC’s mission. For many, that means networking at NIC events, such as the upcoming 2021 NIC Fall Conference, or engaging in one of NIC’s many virtual events, such as the highly popular NIC Leadership Huddle series, for live online discussions. For NIC Co-founder & Strategic Advisor Bob Kramer, it’s bigger than that. “When I stepped down as NIC CEO a few years ago, part of my new role, in addition to advising NIC, was to become a scout and an ambassador, identifying and reaching out to potential new partners for seniors housing and care,” Kramer explained. “I was tasked with educating and inspiring prospective new partners and collaborators to understand the potential of working with seniors housing and care – and to help our traditional audiences prepare and plan for the near future.”
The pandemic has thrust healthcare for seniors into the spotlight. The latest NIC Leadership Huddle event, titled, “Value-Based Care: What's in It for Me?” explored how operators and their partners are navigating what is likely to become a new normal: bringing healthcare to seniors where they live. The webinar and discussion explored the argument that–with or without COVID-19–every seniors housing organization must understand how providing access to healthcare services is now a part of their value proposition for both residents and investors.
Nestled among the many pain points of 2020 were a smattering of bright spots for the seniors housing and care industry. For one, the year ushered in a wave of innovative strategies to combat loneliness in the face of social distancing. Among the top strategies was the use of virtual reality – an area which saw a lot of growth and adoption among operators during the public health emergency. As I delved deeper into researching the topic, I learned that virtual reality – in addition to creating opportunities for socialization and stimulation – has been gaining traction as a staff training tool as well. Embodied Labs’ person-centered caregiver training, for example, provides immersive learning experiences that mimic many of the common conditions and life transitions that impact people as they age. These lab experiences cover vision and hearing loss, Alzheimer’s Disease, end-of-life conversations, cognitive decline, and LGBT and transgender health and aging. In each of these experiences, the trainee becomes the viewer, and assumes a first-person perspective of how older adults experience different aging challenges.
Two educational sessions at NIC Fall Conference address the sales challenge. As an effective vaccine for COVID-19 rolls out, seniors housing operators and owners are hopeful that sales will get a big boost in early 2021. But until then, they still face a challenging marketing landscape as the virus continues to spread amid renewed lockdowns and restrictions.