Time to make your Egg McMuffin

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Emily Mongan
Emily Mongan


If you're among the group of providers and vendors gathered in Nashville this week for the American Health Care Association's 67th Annual Convention & Expo, and you have the bonus of absolutely not being a morning person (i.e. me), you probably got your wakeup call around 10 a.m. Monday morning during the general session.

That's when keynote speaker Kenneth Gronbach, author, demographer and futurist, hit the stage to share with us share some big news for the long-term care industry: There's a storm coming. And it's big.

That storm, of course, comes in the form of the growing wave of baby boomers who will soon require long-term care services.

In Gronbach's world, these demographic waves ebb and flow with data depending on several different factors. Current events, immigration, location — all of these impact how many people are born and die each year. (Ken equates these population shifts to a bathtub, with new life constantly flowing through the “faucet” and old ones leaving through the “drain.”)

More than just numbers, these demographic waves impact how generations live, work and, maybe most importantly, shop. Products and services that didn't exist previously were brought to life by people who saw these demographic waves as an opportunity, and rode them.

Gronbach's prime example? The humble Egg McMuffin, my breakfast of choice while on the road. This magical creation of bread, salt and grease didn't exist until one forward-thinking McDonald's exec looked at the baby boomer generation and posed the radical idea that, hey, maybe people wouldn't mind getting breakfast at a fast food place.

Whether you've had the luck to make it to Nashville for this year's conference or not, keep Gronbach's analogy in mind as you navigate your facility or business through this coming demographic storm. Your incoming residents will want services and amenities that are new and different from the ones that drew previous generations to your facility.

They may not exist right now, but there will come a day when people will look back and struggle to remember a time when that product or service didn't exist. Breakthroughs and innovations come from demographic-specific needs; in Gronbach's words, you need to understand your market and the people you serve before you can truly understand what's next.

So what will be your Egg McMuffin?

Follow Emily Mongan @emmongan.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.