Ever heard of the silver tsunami? It references the 10,000 baby boomers daily who will find out that they require independent or assisted living. More any more people are Googling “Assisted Living Facility Near me” in order to find a place for their loved ones. The senior living industry may not be prepared, but should look optimistically to the future.
Members of the senior living industry, including developers, investors and operators, were in attendance at Commercial Real Estate Conference 2016 to share their expertise: Paul Mullin, senior vice president of development at Silverado Senior Living; Tim Sanders, senior investment officer at Ventas, Inc.; and Carl Mittendorf, a successful senior living owner/operator/developer.
The wave of baby boomers that is fast approaching is ill-prepared for the rising costs of care, and the demand for lower income senior living options will dramatically outpace available supply.
The average cost of senior living facilities is as follows:
- Independent living: $3,000-$4,000 per month.
- Independent living with amenities: $4,000-$6,000 per month.
- Memory care or assisted living: $6,000-$7,000 per month.
- 1:1 resident employee ratio at memory care living.
- 3:1 resident employee ratio at assisted living.
Mullin, who has an extensive background in operating a senior living facility, said that he studies consumer behavior at Silverado Senior Living to determine what his residents prefer.
“Boomers want to live close to a university, want to go to football games and want to have pets and friends,” said Mullin. “Senior living is quickly evolving from a place to an experience, and they all just want a sense of community. That’s what we all want.”
As far as the success of the senior living industry, great facility operators are equally important to the location and amenities that reflect resident interests and needs.
“An operator that’s a poor leader will cause your buildings to suffer and competition will benefit,” said Sanders.
Panelists mentioned that they often discuss where the next wave of leaders in the senior living industry will come from. One million caregivers will be needed in the next 10 years and there will not be enough qualified individuals to fill those positions.
Mittendorf said that finding workers who utilize new technology or are readily willing to adopt it is the answer to a more sustainable, lower income senior housing model.
Where to find those workers is the key. Might students seeking degrees in hotel hospitality use their skills as a care provider or for a role in the senior living industry? Perhaps. The panelists thought so. Mullin said that there are interest groups that help senior living facilities find young talent, too.
“Our industry is getting there, but not with the concentrated effort that we need,” said Sanders.
“To be in the senior living industry, you must have a heartbeat for the business,” said Mittendorf. “You know that saying, ‘Doing well, while doing good?’ That’s us. Our purpose is to take care of grandma and grandpa.”
Taylor Cole is a marketing assistant at Small Giants, a creative marketing and public relations firm in Phoenix that exclusively serves CRE and A/E/C companies in Phoenix and Denver. She is responsible for writing press releases, website content and various writing efforts to assist the firm’s developer, brokerage and contracting clients.