Words frequently take on new or enhanced meanings as they relate to business and innovation. One of the most popular of those words currently is “disruption”. What does this really mean? The dictionary defines a disruption as to break apart, to throw into disorder. But of late disruption has also been defined as “a radical change in an industry, business strategy, etc., especially involving the introduction of a new product or service that creates a new market”. But considering the latest definition, what has that meant to the senior housing industry? Back in the 1990’s the emergence of assisted living was definitely a disruptor since it represented a new product resulting in fewer moves into the continuum of care (known as the Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC or Life Plan community). More recently, the increased availability and use of home care has caused many seniors to remain at home until much later, entering senior housing not only older but frailer as well. Traditional non-profit organizations might refer to for-profit players as disruptors given their propensity to focus on assisted living and memory care and to enter the market more swiftly than non-profits due to more streamlined decision making processes. And what might be called “senior housing lite”, independent living communities offering only minimal services may become a disruptor. Successful responses to disruptors requires the ability to be flexible, nimble, and to review and respond in a positive and productive way while strengthening your product and your brand identity. It also may require implementing new technologies that support staff, residents and family members. One of the great features associated with serving seniors has been the changes we’ve made to adapt to ”disruptors” as we continue to grow and improve.