[Updated] ALFA Takes Senior Living Certification to the Next Level

The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) is forming an independent credentialing organization that will operate and govern certification programs for senior living providers.

Established separately from the organization, the new credentialing push is the latest in a series of initiatives the senior living trade association has been developing over the past year, which has seen the appointment of a new CEO and ongoing efforts to rebrand.

“We are committed to creating the highest standards of excellence in senior living through long-term investments in credentialing, creating even greater value for our residents and the families they serve,” said ALFA Board Chairman Brenda Bacon, who also serves as president and CEO of Brandywine Senior Living.


The crux of the credentialing program, according to ALFA’s Board of Directors during a recent board meeting, is to better provide the public with a basis for evaluating senior living staff qualification, while encouraging providers to enhance their skills to perform at a high industry standard.

Through the national credentialing program, initially for executive directors, senior living providers will be able to validate experience, knowledge and skills of their community leaders, said ALFA President and CEO James Balda in an email to SHN.

In terms of what criteria will be required of individuals seeking the new credentialing, Balda says ALFA is currently conducting a job task analysis involving subject matter experts from the senior living industry as well as academic fields, among others, to determine the appropriate domains of knowledge and expertise to be tested and evaluated.


The multi-year process involves experts from both the senior living and academic fields who will collaborate on developing a certification and credentialing program that covers all areas of expertise necessary for the successful operation of a senior living community.

“The commitment demonstrated by individuals to achieve this high standard industry credential makes a strong statement about their drive for professional growth and their increasing abilities to provide high-quality services to the senior living industry,” said ALFA Board of Directors Vice Chairman and Legend Senior Living CEO Tim Buchanan, who will serve on the new organization’s Board of Directors.

Governance of the credentialing program will occur independently from the ALFA Board, with the program’s own Board of Directors charged with setting its strategic direction, establishing policy and making policy-level certification decisions.

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As for a launch date for the program, ALFA is embarking on the legal process now to establish this new organization.

“Getting formal IRS approval for the organization can take up to a year, however, the work for establishing the credentialing program is underway with a series of meetings of industry subject matter experts occurring over the next several months,” Balda said.

Written by Jason Oliva

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