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Senior housing providers will be in big trouble if they continue to ignore market demands for better health and wellness offerings, smarter tech platforms, diverse cultural and culinary options, urban developments, and more. These are just a few of the insights we uncovered while compiling our third annual report on the future of senior housing.

Solutions vary, but one unifying theme emerges—senior housing is too conservative and must take more risks, especially as more boomers age into the industry’s target market. This year’s sources, our largest group yet, includes:

  • David Barnes - President - Watermark Retirement Communities
  • Dan Hutson - Chief Strategy Officer - HumanGood
  • Adam Kaplan - Founder and CEO - Solera Senior Living
  • Lynne Katzmann - Founder and CEO - Juniper Communities
  • Bob Kramer - Founder and Strategic Advisor - NIC
  • Rick Matros - President and CEO - Sabra Health Care REIT
  • Bill Pettit- President and COO - R.D. Merrill Company
  • Jeramy Ragsdale - Founder and CEO - Thrive Senior Living
  • Greg Smith - President and CEO - Maplewood Senior Living
  • Thomas Wellner - President and CEO - Revera

Senior Living Therapy with horse

Wellness, Culture, Tech & Much More

We’ve broken down this 48-page analysis into several categories: Recruitment & Retention, Meeting Boomer Expectations, Well-Being, Taking Risks, Seniors in the City, True Tech Adoption, Innovation and the Boardroom, Serving the Middle Market, and Aligning Senior Housing & Healthcare.

A few of our contributors’ views:

  • To counter the ongoing labor shortage, senior housing should recruit from foodservice and hospitality, while expanding college and vocational programs so available opportunities are more appealing to a younger generation. 
  • Revera, Watermark and HumanGood are catalyzing change by appointing top executives to C-Suite positions focusing on innovation. More brands will follow their lead.
  • Providers have begun taking action, integrating invisible technologies like Google Home, Amazon Echo and others into their communities. Thrive is leading the way with a new integrated technology platform which will be in all its communities within the next few years.
  • On-demand services are allowing seniors to stay in their homes longer, but they’re also creating a lonely, isolated population. In Bob Kramer’s words, “If we don’t put money into home services, we’ll have an unprecedented epidemic of shut-ins over the next 15 years.”
  • Boomers want to be where the action is. So sophisticated senior living communities will continue to open in the heart of cities, with high-end properties like Maplewood’s Inspīr high-rise in Manhattan’s Upper East Side leading the way.
  • Thanks to recent developments in the Medicare Advantage program, more operators will begin providing primary care services onsite. Senior housing could also become a dominant provider of pre-acute care. 

Finally, the leaders we spoke with emphasized the importance of long-term planning to design and create environments where seniors will want to live and desirable team members want to work.

“The number one success factor down the road in our industry will be culture. Culture can’t be produced overnight. It takes a deliberate plan. It takes time to develop and for employees to see it and embrace it,” Kramer said.

Andy Smith

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Andy Smith is a veteran journalist and copywriter. Andy writes about hospitality, retail, senior living and higher education topics for influence group.

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