John O’Connor

Halloween is the one event each year where getting scared silly can be part of the fun. But you could hardly blame providers who’d prefer to skip that opportunity.

For any way you slice it, the past year and a half has delivered an ample supply of terror. Operators have had to watch COVID-19 kill off thousands of residents, fuel what may be unprecedented staff defections, hammer down occupancy rates and push operational costs into the stratosphere.

Who needs artificial frighteners? In most post-acute care buildings, reality has been more than up to the task.

If it’s any consolation, we may soon learn if the worst has passed. The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care’s Fall Conference kicks off today in Houston. And it just might go down as one of the most deal-making events in this field’s history. I can’t remember a time when more motivated sellers, buyers and capital providers all gathered under the same roof.

It’s a safe bet some mega deals will be hatched over the next few days. We may even see a few announced this week.

At McKnight’s, we’ll be doing our level best to pass along any news we find at the conference. And more so than in previous years, these developments deserve your close attention. For they hold the promise of reshaping the face and form of seniors housing and care.

There is a very good chance that some of the leading operators in this sector will soon be even bigger. Others may be swallowed up. You can be sure many moms-and-pops won’t be moms-and-pops much longer. And we may see some bold moves from unexpected quarters. So stay tuned.

According to the calendar, Halloween took place on Oct. 31. But that was just kids’ stuff. This field’s trick-or-treaters are just getting started.

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