[MUSIC PLAYING] ROBERT G. KRAMER: Right now, there's a crisis in America. The social needs for how we're going to address the housing and care needs for the exploding number of elders we're going to have in our society are going to be front and center domestic policy issues. They're going to be huge budget issues, and they're going to be one of the greatest social challenges in our country-- but frankly, across the world.
CAROL CUMMINGS: The first senior living or nursing homes were sort of built as these mini hospitals. And so they were built as a very clinical setting, and as a result, we still have remnants of that.
JOHN P. RIJOS: Back in 2000, my mom and dad had both been sick in the prior year. They had both passed away from different forms of cancer. And quite frankly, as I watched their end of life come, I thought it came without any dignity.
JOHN DEHART: I mean, there certainly is a lack of service. We all know it. And I think in the hotel industry, we're taught and we learn to build these cultures of service excellence. We hire, and fire, and train people to provide service. And they're born to do it. In health care, it's not that way.
I think looking at the next 20 years-- I mean, the population is aging and there are going to be so many opportunities in health care because of that.
MELISSA CERIALE: The importance of hospitality and health care just can't be overstated at this moment in time. In my mind, there is a tsunami of need coming at us in health care. We need entire culture changes in order to make any kind of impact moving forward.
ESTHER GREENHOUSE: My vision is that we have shifted in society where there is a greater appreciation for older adults, coupled with this understanding that the built environment is a huge role in terms of enabling or disabling our older adults-- and with just a little bit more of an understanding of how the body changes with normal aging, how the body changes with typical diseases, and designing our environments correspondingly.
PATRICIA WILL: The idea of seniors housing and care still needs to be turned on its head. We need to reinforce the image of this gift of life, these 30 some years between 65 and 95-- even 100-- as an opportunity.
DAVID SCHLESS: There is absolutely a real estate and design component. Clearly, there's a hospitality component and without question, the health care and health management. There really is a need in the industry to help educate the next generation of leadership in the senior living business.
JAMIE HUFFCUT: It's not just the patient. It's not just the technology. It's not just the provider. It's all of that coming together, and so we need to design thinking of all of that. So we as the architects need to come in with a toolkit of understanding the parts and pieces-- the newest technology, the industry changes, as well as best practice of what's been done.
JOHN P. RIJOS: It's about activities. And it's about spiritual engagement; and emotional engagement; and social re-engagement; and providing great care-- clinical care-- and providing good housing; and creating a safe and trusting environment, not only for the resident but for the whole family to feel good about.
ROBERT G. KRAMER: There's life. There's activity. There's a sense of continued meaning and purpose, and that's very attractive. So what does that mean? It means we're going to have a totally new product with new terminology, new marketing, different ways of financing it. It's an entrepreneur's dream.
LYNNE KATZMANN: The consequences are for you and me. The consequences if we don't change-- if we don't change our attitudes on aging, and we don't evolve the types of care and service we give and the types of environments in which we live-- will mean that we won't live good lives when we age.
CATE O'BRIEN: Hopefully young people will see senior living as really a world of opportunity for them to develop careers-- whether it be related to health care, related to real estate, or business.
ESTHER GREENHOUSE: These are things that we know how to do. They're already being done to some extent, so we just have to spread the word and apply them.
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Senior-level executives, educators and leaders in senior housing and care discuss future challenges and opportunities. Speakers: Robert G. Kramer, CEO, National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care; Carol Cummings, senior director of Optimum Life Engagement, Brookdale Senior Living; John Rijos '75, co-founder and operating partner, Chicago Pacific Partners; John DeHart '96, co-founder and chairperson, Nurse Next Door; Melissa Ceriale, trustee, Montefiore Medicine; Esther Greenhouse, environmental gerontologist, Esther Greenhouse LLC; Patricia Will, founder and CEO, Belmont Village Senior Living; David Schless, president, American Seniors Housing Association; Jamie Huffcutt, health and wellness workplace strategist; Lynne Katzmann, president and CEO, Juniper Communities; and Cate O'Brien, director of research, Mather LifeWays.