Editor’s Picks: EB-5 Controversy, Future of Retirement Communities

Like many Chicagoans, we spent the week in the newsroom battling our emotions over the Cubs—but while that was full of ups and downs, we always were happy to bring our readers up to date on the most recent happenings in the senior housing industry.

Readers were clued in on how an immigration program that helps finance senior housing projects might be in limbo and how a senior living developer turned a lackluster hotel into a vibrant senior living community.

In the newsroom, our interest was piqued when we stumbled upon a story about a couple who discovered West Asheville, North Carolina as the perfect retirement city, and how many retirees are looking for walkable, urban environments to spend their later years.

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Did Lawmakers Kill the EB-5 Financing Program by Mistake?— The EB-5, an immigration program that helps finance senior housing projects, was extended after it was set to expire at the end of September, but the decision to extend the program is not sitting easy among all government groups— one group has filed a lawsuit already. The bill was signed by President Obama at the end of last month.

From HoJo to Home: Inside Look at Turning a Hotel into Senior Living— A senior living community in Palatine, Illinois is now open, but has a unique history. It was transformed into a community for more than 100 seniors from a Howard Johnson hotel.

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Why CCRC Residents Are Taking Tech Support Into Their Own Hands— One senior living community in Atlanta is taking a different approach to technology by investing roughly $30,000 and including its residents in the process. Lenbrook has invested the technology funds to three areas: safety, health and wellness and social connectivity. There is also as a resident-run Geezer Squad,” which is a group of tech-savvy seniors who act as IT support for the community.

Senior Housing M&A Continues to Decline—Transaction volume among senior housing public buyers continued to see a decline in quarter three of this year, but volume among private buyers is on the upswing.

Staffing, Memory Care Dominate New Assisted Living Regulations— The most recent edition of the Assisted Living State Regulatory Review showed that assisted living regulations on a state level are shifting to focus on staffing, training and memory care. There were eight states that changed requirements surrounding staffing and training this year and there were five states in particular that added new requirements for Alzheimer’s and memory care units.

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Weekend Reads

The Future of Retirement Communities: Walkable and Urban—The next big thing in senior living may be senior-friendly towns. Just because Baby Boomers are retiring doesn’t mean they want to stop being active. One couple from North Carolina recently relocated to West Asheville from Franklin to be engaged in a more active lifestyle, The New York Times reports. And it seems that this trend may pick up speed because retirement communities don’t always have the space for seniors to stay active. “Most mainstream retirement developers had traditionally favored suburban or exurban sites that involve sprawling ‘greenfield’ building on relatively cheap farmland,” the article said. “The new approach, by contrast, is for dense, urban or town-centered sites that care accessible for services and socially vibrant.” Developers may want to take note.

‘Elder Orphans’ On Rise As Chicagoans Age, Live Alone, Report Says— A census report shows that almost one-third of senior citizens in Chicago are living alone, and elder orphans represent more than 25% of the nation’s senior population, according to DNAinfo Chicago. A senior organization in Chicago however is trying to combat these harsh statistics by starting a Facebook group for seniors living alone in the city to connect.

The VSED Exit: A Way to Speed Up Dying, Without Asking Permission— We know the aid in dying laws are facing their own battle throughout the country, but new questions are being raised about people who choose to use the VSED option, which is voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, reported The New York Times. The VSED option is often used when people are ready to pass and don’t want to wait around for months to be approved for life ending drugs from a physician, if they even live in a state that has a law which supports their choice. States with death with dignity laws also don’t allow a person with dementia to utilize the law, which is where VSED also can become a viable option, the article explains.

Written by Alana Stramowski

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