A few weeks into 2016, some of the leading executives in senior housing are looking into their crystal balls as they refine their strategies for the year ahead.
Senior Housing News recently asked CEOs and other top executives at some leading operators to share their predictions. If there’s a common thread it might be this: 2016 could a watershed year for senior living operators entering into more partnerships with other health care providers.
Several leaders said that senior housing will become a more important part of the nation’s increasingly integrated health care system, following years in which the industry has been kept on the fringes of ACOs and similar provider networks.
But the predictions were wide-ranging, touching on everything from the role of technology to workforce issues, development trends and occupancy expectations. The consensus is that 2016 will be another dynamic year, marked by innovation, healthy competition, and a drive to serve the nation’s growing ranks of seniors:
“There will be increased awareness — among providers in the larger markets developing integrated health care delivery systems — of the value many of the senior housing operators provide, or can provide, to better achieve their ‘Triple Aim’ objectives, which are to improve the experience of care, improve the health of the population, and reduce per capita cost of health care.” —Loren Shook, Co-Founder/CEO/Chairman, Silverado
“In 2016, I think you will see a significant increase in occupancy in independent living and CCRCs due to the increasing appeal of amenity-style living to new seniors and significant investments in updates and repositioning of existing communities.” —Adam Kane, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Erickson Living
“In 2016, there will be growing importance for senior housing operators to innovate so they can provide solutions that address the evolving needs and expectations of associates, seniors, and their families. We’ll see a growing adoption of technology platforms to improve operational efficiency and the customer experience.” —Andy Smith, CEO, Brookdale Senior Living
“As the health care landscape continues to evolve and grow, we are presented with some exciting opportunities to increase our collaboration with health care systems to benefit seniors. We look forward to building on last year’s focus on coordination of care to help improve our residents’ experiences and truly enhance their quality of life.”—Chris Winkle, CEO, Sunrise Senior Living
“For senior housing in general, a challenge in 2016 will be keeping up with the competition. Occupancy is up but everyone is still building. Many times companies will drop rates or give deals because they need to fill up their buildings. We need to all say we are not going to do that so we do not have to compromise the care we are providing.” —Tami Cumings, Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Memory Care
“I think the ultimate success of every retirement community is based on the quality of its staff, and their buy-in to the operator’s vision. As the number of communities across the nation increases in 2016, we anticipate an even greater need for creative recruitment, engaged training, continuous coaching and providing a meaningful, rewarding work experience.” —David Barnes, President and CEO, Watermark Retirement Communities
“I expect to see continually increased competition for occupancy/rate and talent as new properties continue to open. There will be a continuation of the recent uncertainty in the capital markets. And, the eventual collaboration of senior living and health care providers/systems will continue to unfold. The array of seniors we are now serving continues to diversify, as do the services we are providing them. Senior Living is moving ever closer to further collaboration with health care providers as the demographic, payment and care delivery worlds are being transformed.” —Tom Grape, Founder and CEO, Benchmark Senior Living
“[The coming year] is going to be the start of development slowing down. It will be the time when operators that haven’t wanted to change from their model built 10-15 years ago are going to start to feel that. Technology isn’t just ‘cool’ things, but it helps coordinate care. There’s going to come a point where those [slower operators] can’t play any more.” —Lori Juneau-Alford, Chief Operating Officer, Avanti Senior Living
“I think there will be continued consolidation in the industry. I think the larger public companies and the REIT-owned companies will continue to buy up smaller companies. I think companies that have ‘super regional influence’ will have a very good position in the marketplace, because there are very few of them left. I also think you’ll see development continue to grow in terms of select markets, and I think you’ll see occupancy inch up by about 1% as a national trend.” —Dwayne Clark , Founder and CEO, Aegis Living