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How to Boost Market Performance and Penetration Rates

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.

About the Author

Beth Burnham Mace

Beth Burnham Mace is the Chief Economist and Director of Outreach at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). Prior to joining the staff at NIC, she served as a member of the NIC Board of Directors for seven years and chaired NIC’s Research Committee. Ms. Mace was also a Director at AEW Capital Management and worked in the AEW Research Group for 17 years. Prior to joining AEW in 1997, Ms. Mace spent ten years at Standard & Poor’s DRI/McGraw-Hill as the Director of the Regional Information Service. She also worked as a Regional Economist at Crocker Bank, the National Commission on Air Quality, the Brookings Institution and Boston Edison.

Ms. Mace is a member of the National Association of Business Economists (NABE), the Urban Land Institute (ULI), ULI’s Senior Housing Council and New England Women in Real Estate (NEWIRE/CREW). In 2014, she was appointed a fellow at the Homer Hoyt Institute and was awarded the title of a “Woman of Influence” in commercial real estate by Real Estate Forum Magazine and Globe Street. Ms. Mace is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (B.A.) and the University of California (M.S.). She has also earned The Certified Business Economist™ title (CBE) from the National Association of Business Economists (NABE). Ms. Mace is often cited in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Seniors Housing Business, Seniors Housing News and McKnight’s Senior Living and has a bi-monthly column in the National Real Estate Investor.
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