John O’Connor

You don’t need me to tell you how challenging things are these days.

On Thursday, the National Investment Centers for Seniors Housing & Care released figures showing that overall senior care and living occupancy levels dipped in the second quarter, to 86.7%.

As long-term care becomes not-so-long-term care, it’s apparent that operators are feeling pressure to reduce resident stays as never before.

This comes as the sector braces for Medicare’s coming resident classification and payment system. Depending on whom you ask, the system will either:

a)  finally reward operators for delivering quality care, or

b) do that for a bit, until regulators figure out a way to tamp down payments.

The optimist in me is hoping for the first scenario. History tells us that the latter is more likely. Sorry, that’s just the way the game tends to get played.

In case you are not already tense and morose enough, the labor situation is hardly going through a crimson-and-clover period, either. Not only is unemployment nearing a historic low, wage pressures are unprecedented.

Clearly, the sector has its share of challenges. Yet when you talk to people in this field, it’s amazing how committed most remain.

As for the reason why, it’s quite simple, really: They love the work they do. Put another way, people in this sector rightfully feel they are making a difference.

As a part of that noble achievement, technology is playing an increasingly central role. Chances are more than good that your organization is harnessing several tech tools to make life better for those you serve.

And as long as you are already doing that, why not get rewarded for the effort?

As you may have heard, the 2019 McKnight’s Technology Awards contest is now underway.

Before you stop reading, please know that entering this contest is easy and rewarding.

First, it may bring your organization some POSITIVE exposure. And the recognition will be for something you are already doing.

Second, you have a half dozen skilled-care categories to choose from (Quality, High Tech/High Touch, Innovator of the Year, KISS, Safety and Transitions).

Finally, entering has never been easier. Simply go to .

Yes, these are challenging times. But this sector also offers more than its share of rewards. And your opportunity to earn one of them is literally one click away.

But don’t wait: The deadline is July 24. Good luck to you and your team. And thank you for making a difference.

John O’Connor is McKnight’s Editorial Director.