Changemakers Series

By on Jun 30, 2021 in Senior Living

How can you transform the senior housing sector? For Torsten Hirche, president and CEO of Transforming Age, it’s accomplished by forming new partnerships, offering diverse services and building quality communities.

Given his creative approach to senior living, Torsten has been recognized as a 2021 Changemaker through the Yardi-sponsored interview series with Senior Housing News (SHN). In leading Transforming Age, a Seattle-based organization that now serves 55 communities, Torsten has learned the ins and outs of leadership, strategy and more.

In his Changemaker interview, Torsten explains how he navigates the social, technological and economic changes facing the industry. He also gives an inside look at how he’s helping Transforming Age stay ahead of the curve. Check out this excerpt:

What are one or two of the changes that you are most proud of leading at Transforming Age or in the senior living industry at large?

First and foremost is the team. It’s been a hell of a ride and the team has stretched, grown, risen to the task and always showed up. I’m proud of them. That includes both legacy team members and the team members we’ve added.

The people we serve have gone through a lot of changes with us. Open communication played a major role in our success there. Change is hard for the people we serve, especially when it occurs at high velocity.

The repositioning of Parkshore is a change I am proud of. Parkshore is one of our flagship communities, but it was a diamond in the rough. It needed a lot of attention and the residents were extremely accommodating, even at the rapid pace we were moving. We communicated, created a dialogue together and walked through the changes so everyone was on the same page.

Our governance model also underwent a significant transformation. From day one, the board understood and supported the decision. Together, we made the vision a reality.

Transforming Age has become an integrated network with the holistic mission of serving older adults across the economic spectrum in a variety of ways. The board was involved in early vision conversations that played into rebranding. Every facet of the organization is connected through a common core, a common mission, a common language and a common culture.

Making that vision a reality is the greatest changemaking effort I have led. We’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way and we took detours here and there, but we never lost sight of what we wanted to accomplish. Our team members are an integral part of that.

I am excited to continue building what I believe is the future of senior living. We will create more integrated services, housing, and technology solutions to serve people holistically as we move into the future. It’s not just the sheer numbers. The mission impacts the lives we’re serving. We’re serving 14,000 people and providing $65 million in charity care — I’m proud of how we do it.

Transforming Age also has a strong stance on technology, so how does technology fit into your changemaking efforts?

When senior living organizations talk about technology, it often comes to back-end business enablement and resident UX solutions. We believe it goes beyond that. The organization essentially has to morph into a technology organization. We’ve had strong results in our digital transformation.

Technology is not a means to an end, it’s part of who you are as an organization and how you serve people in the field. As a sector, we are still well behind the curve on that front. Technology is not something that gets bolted on, technology is an integral part of the strategy and vision of an organization.

Read more in Torsten Hirche’s Changemaker interview with SHN.