Shahid Imran: Reinventing Senior Living

Today, we are witnessing individuals across the globe living longer because of the support of technology, medical innovation, and time. In 2019, 1 in 11 people were above the age of 65. By 2050, these numbers are expected to rise to 1 in 6. With old age comes natural biological changes and additional health issues that need either constant or periodic attention.

However, the growing nuclear structure of society is now compelling the senior population to opt for assisted living in specialized arrangements, rather than spending their time alone and unattended. As the seniors approach retirement and transition into a supervised living environment, this industry is witnessing a change brought by higher expectations for quality of life for seniors. 

The last few years have shown some dramatic changes within the senior living industry and even more so with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, serving tomorrow’s senior population has become inevitable. At Build Senior Living, Managing Director/CEO, Shahid Imran has been quick to respond to the changing requirements and revisit the way his company conducts development and operations. Because the aging population is expanding, he has also sensed a direct correlation with incorporating wellness enhancement products and services. “We have also seen the industry relish into a more hospitality living environment as opposed to the institutional environments of the past. We are seeing this industry integrate more leisurely activities because today’s senior is different than the senior of previous times,” says Shahid.

Visiting the Past

So how did Shahid venture into the senior living industry? Although his professional life began very early, he had no clear idea as to what he wanted out of it. But an inside voice told him it had to do with care or providing care. This feeling arose from the fact that he was the eldest of five children and ultimately, would be responsible not just looking after them, but also his parents. Instinctively he understood the “why”, but he needed to figure out the “how”.

After graduating with a degree in natural science, he spent some time in Texas trying to find his niche. Upon his return to Michigan, he became part owner of a medical supply company. He learned what he needed to, saved money, sold off his portion and became his own boss. It was during a routine stop at an assisted living facility, while working at his company that it occurred to him what he wanted to do. Shahid recalls, “The assisted living facility was nice, but I couldn’t help but think about my own parents. I wanted to see better services and amenities being offered to our seniors, after all, these are the individuals that made us the people we are today.”

Taking the idea towards fulfilment

Shahid started Build Senior Living because he wanted to enrich the lives of the senior residents and serve them with respect, dignity, integrity, and most of all compassion. He did not see a product on the market that targeted and highlighted providing superior care or amenities to the seniors in the manner he wanted for his parents. This gap laid the foundation of what differs Build Senior Living from its competitors. They not only strive to serve their residents but also ensure that they provide a support structure for their families. They make certain that they understand the unmet needs of their potential residents and reassure them of any uncertainties they may encounter for themselves and their loved ones. Families have many questions and concerns about the process of assisted living arrangement for their loved ones;  “we make certain we help them through the process, whether it is directing them to appropriate professionals to complete paperwork or providing emotional support when necessary.

“We stand apart from others because we canvas demographic areas that capture the true beauty of the occupying area; whether it be a wooded area that highlights the changing of the season, or overseeing beautiful mountain ranges, or capturing the shadows of the bodies of water we are near. We take pride in offering our residents a lifestyle that caters to their wants as well as providing excellence in quality care needs whether it is for Assisted Living or Memory Care. We also set ourselves apart because we hire and attract those professionals and individuals that have the traits that lend themselves to the nurturing and caring environment, we strive toward achieving,” says Shahid. 

A not-so-smooth journey

The first challenge for Shahid was that of the unknown. He was just beginning and there was so much he did not know how to navigate through. For starters, he was not aware of the licensing processes for building an assisted living, the trials with cities, townships, and counties, the griefs of timelines and contractors and finally the ins and outs of operating the business itself. The biggest roadblock he faced was negativity. “If things didn’t always go the way I wanted or expected it would, it caused barriers with myself. However, I learned that I had to make the distinction if failures were produced by shortcomings beyond my control, or if they were mistakes that I could fix with time and effort,” he recounts.

Beating the odds

So what attributes made him turn challenges into opportunities and build today’s business from scratch? Passion, he says is a must for what one does. “My passion for what I do is what gets me excited to get out of bed every morning and to be grateful to be alive and feeling this way about my job! It’s that spark that ignites my passion to provide the best possible home for our residents. My passion persuades others to find that passion about caring for our residents and providing a home that they never thought they could spend the rest of their days. Passion persuades people to believe in me and what I do; and most importantly passion persuades me to keep outdoing myself every day,” says Shahid.

Innovation, Shahid suggests is required to keep the passion alive for what we do. He is in a constant hunt for ways to make the senior communities the best of the best. He is always thinking of fundamental ways to bring value to the lives of the residents. When executed correctly, these innovations will create the quality in-depth relationships that his company intended for the residents and themselves. 

Staying motivated and risk-taking are the attributes that keep one hungry to innovate and push towards success. Shahid grew up with humble beginnings and knew that only he could take responsibility for his life’s outcome. He needed to motivate himself to do something that he could feel accomplished about and important, even when he is not around. As a risk-taker, he was never afraid to live outside the normal realm or boundaries. He never thought he would fail, he just figured “if I make a mistake, I’ll learn and move on”. 

Adding value to services

Staying relevant in the industry doesn’t just need marketing but also true valuable services especially because the senior of today is not the senior of yesterday. Seniors today know more, want more, expect more, and are exposed to more. As such, Shahid and the team look at the area demographics that they will be occupying. They use this information to obtain a thorough understanding of inclusivity and diversity as it relates to the residents of that demographic area to be able to provide the best services and amenities. They also research similar communities in the area and see what they are offering. “We want to appeal to the residents of the area and starting with your competition is a great way to understand what the residents appreciate. The most important and effective mode of appealing to our audience is listening to our current residents,” says Shahid.

Build Senior Living also strives to be the best employer and look after its team. Shahid understands that employees are the cornerstone of the company’s success. The company constantly reinvents itself within its communities to keep in the now to maintain the best for its residents. “It always seems impossible until it’s done. I hope to ride this wave of development and as a future goal my plan is to have the largest privately-owned assisted living company in the country,” concludes Shahid.

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