As 2018 continues to unfold, construction pipelines are expected to remain full. Near-record low occupancy levels in assisted living will remain tested, while occupancy pressures will grow in independent living as well.
In markets today with an unfavorable supply/demand imbalance, growing demand penetration rates could help offset supply pressures.
So, how can operators grow their own and the industry’s collective penetration rates? Below is a list of some possibilities:
Create the new “independent living” design and prototype aimed at the boomerang boomer generation—individuals aged 70-plus who want to re-invent themselves with active living, continuing education, second “careers” and volunteerism
Provide greater service offerings that help adult children manage the day-to-day needs of their aging parent residents with concierge-type services
Engage in an industry-wide “Got Milk?” campaign to demonstrate the benefits and advantages—the value proposition—of residing in a seniors housing property
Find solutions to relatively high-cost housing and fee structures to make senior living options more available to lower income-threshold households
Reduce the use of high-cost acute services by becoming part of the broader health care continuum and population health management practices that embrace the whole person in a value-based medical system versus a fee-for-service system, and by creating design-efficient, attractive housing with enhanced service and care features
Create up-stream and down-stream relationships with hospitals and skilled nursing properties to create comprehensive and coordinated care
Provide on-site services such as occupational and physical therapies and regular exercise and wellness programs to prolong residents’ length of stay and improve quality of life
Focus on specialty care segments for residents with conditions such as COPD, diabetes, memory care and other care-intensive needs
Offer services to the broader local community to familiarize it with seniors housing, while also offering fee-for-service care to the broader community
Leverage search engine technology for best-in-class marketing and leasing opportunities
Employ technology to improve work efficiencies to afford staff more time with residents and to improve the quality and quantity of care
Improve employee retention by providing a culture and work environment that makes staff want to stay in place to enhance long-lasting relationships with residents
Provide a stimulating and enhanced environment with opportunity for community-based involvement including intergenerational programs with young adults and children
Offer choice of services, programs, dining experiences, room configurations, social outings and events
Create outstanding offerings in customer service and customized experiences
Finally, think outside the box and reinvent seniors housing as we know it today. The “Silent Generation” currently residing in seniors housing was born between 1928 and 1945. What we offer them now is setting the stage for the upcoming wave of baby boomers who will begin to enter seniors housing starting in 2026 when the first of them born in 1946 turns 80. This boomer generation has proven over the decades that it doesn’t do things the same way as their parents. And for this, we all need to be approaching the market in new and different ways.