A recent survey conducted by Horst Construction, a senior-market design and construction management firm, and Holleran Consulting, a marketing research firm specializing in the senior industry, show that the economy is affecting occupancy and retention rates for all types of senior living facilities in the Carolinas. The findings are a result of one-on-one interviews with executive administrators and admissions decision-makers at more than 30 North Carolina senior-living communities. The participants stated that the current economic conditions are making resident retention and facility occupancy a greater challenge than in previous years yet many operators are not taking action to enhance the quality and appeal of their present facilities in an effort to increase occupancy and retention.
Senior administrators also said that:
- They are offering more cash and service incentives to encourage prospective residents to make a buying decision. Incentives include readjusting entry and monthly fees (reported by over 90% of administrators) as well as providing free move-in assistance and interior decorating service.
- Current and prospective residents desire greater value than ever before, citing lower entry fees, increased dining options and more appeal of interior spaces as important factors.
- Improved interior design and new furnishings for dining areas top their budget "wish list" for renovating public spaces, followed by enhanced lobby and greeting spaces.
- Landscaping and water features (ponds and fountains) are key exterior spaces to improve if/when budgeting permits. Other desired exterior renovations include more parking space and replacement of building components like doors and windows.
- To keep retention levels high, their communities pay the majority of the cost to renovate living units for existing residents, with the balance paid by residents (72% vs. 28%).
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