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Each year, senior living industry leaders gather at USC to provide perspective and give advice to young executives in the industry.

Now in its fifth year, the two-day Senior Living Executive Course (SLEC) from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, in partnership with the USC Marshall School of Business, draws professionals from across the United States and abroad for education on a range of key issues. USC Leonard Davis Dean Pinchas Cohen and Dean Emeritus and Professor Ed Schneider provided insights into the science of aging, and USC Marshall School Professor Greg Patton led leadership exercises.

Among the industry experts was Paul Klaussen, co-founder and former CEO of Sunrise Senior Living, who said that changes to improve affordability, combat ageism and provide better end-of-life care are long overdue. “I know the best senior living is yet to be invented,” he said.

Mercedes Kerr, executive vice president at Welltower, stressed the important role managers play in driving innovation, building culture and stemming turnover. “We have to be aware of all the new trends and evolve the model,” she said.

Bill Thomas, MD, founder of The Eden Alternative and The Green House Project, said that a changing customer base will demand that communities cater to people of all ages and cognitive abilities. “The era of age segregation is drawing to a close,” he said.

Senior living leaders must embrace new ways of doing business, according to Bob Kramer, NIC founder and strategic advisor, who noted that health care providers should come to residents, not the other way around. “We have to think differently,” he said.

SLEC was sponsored by Welltower, American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), Argentum, Belmont Village, Greystone, National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), Sabra Health Care REIT, and Silverado.

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