Senior Living Community Leverages Education for Rising Industry Leaders

The influx of baby boomers reaching retirement age has one senior living developer tackling the question of how it will creatively address the growing demand. Germantown, Maryland-based Asbury Communities, which provides management and support services for a system of continuing care retirement communities, says it is time to get prepared.

“With an increase in home healthcare, healthcare reform and other changes, those of us specializing in aging services need to get ready,” said Doug Leidig, Asbury Communities CEO. “Senior living providers need more exposure to educate future leaders about what we do, and to continue to attract and develop quality professionals in the field.”

The challenge is twofold, with 60% of multi-site CEOs in the industry planning to retire within the next decade, said Leidig. The shift will leave organizations in a position to fill those roles with new leaders.

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To address the growing need for senior communities, Asbury has proactively addressed the issue of leadership by supporting the development of leaders through its administrators-in-training program. Asbury has teamed with The George Washington University and Georgetown University, “to offer real-life experience for their graduate students who are learning about health care administration.” The purpose of the program, the company says, is to interest those students in long-term care options, such as CCRCs, which provide independent living and, as needs increase, assisted living and long-term care.

Another important initiative Asbury is taking is to seek solutions that answer demand for future services for aging seniors. Residents often enter the Asbury system between the ages of 60 and 90, and Leidig predicts that those ages will continue to rise. The company is developing community-based service options that take services off the Asbury campuses.

“We are exploring what it would take for seniors to be able to call on us to provide that help in their own homes,” Leidig said. “For instance, if a senior falls and breaks his hip, he will need medical care and therapy. One of our buses can pick him up at his door and bring him to our campus for the care he needs. When that’s completed, our bus can bring him home. We can provide meals while he is recuperating, as well as yard service, housekeeping, someone to clean out his gutters. While he is at our campus, he has access to lectures and activities that go on there, giving him a chance to meet other people. Our activities focus on our six pillars of wellness: emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual, vocational and social. This increases his exposure to our community, so that if he considers a move to a CCRC, he already knows about us and has had a positive experience.”

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