John O’Connor

Well, the fall conference season kicked off in Phoenix last week.

By most accounts, Argentum’s annual shindig for the senior living crowd was a huge success. It sure seemed like the participants were glad they came. Yoko didn’t bring a walrus, but there was magic in the air.

To be sure, the number of attendees and exhibitors was down a tad. But I suppose that’s to be expected when a nationwide pandemic is raging.

Perhaps you will soon be heading out to one of the three big shows still on tap (AHCA, LeadingAge and NIC). If so, here are a few notes on what the future might hold for you.

Relief: Video conferences are great. But let’s face it: Many of us have not had the opportunity to meet up with old colleagues or make many new ones for nearly two years. It sure felt good to finally socialize a bit.

Oversight: The upcoming shows will be requiring vaccines for the most part. Those who cannot comply for one reason or another will have quite a gauntlet to navigate each day. Even those who have had their shots will have a few new hurdles to deal with.

Learning: The educational sessions were quite good at Argentum. It looks like the coming shows will offer more of the same.

Travel hassles: Don’t be surprised if you spend more time than normal in airports, in cab lines or securing dining reservations. The economy is rebounding, but it’s not back. At least, not completely.

Anxiety: When the shows are over, many attendees will be going back to buildings full of older residents with compromised health conditions. Despite the heavy duty prep work done to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus, there is going to be a lot of human interaction going on. All it really takes is one carrier in the crowd to launch a super spreader event.

So please take advantage of the coming weeks to get out of the bedroom, have some fun, make new friends and learn a few new things. But as Sgt. Phil Esterhaus often reminded the Hill Street cops, “Let’s be careful out there.”

John O’Connor is Editorial Director for McKnight’s.