[Updated] The Top 10 Largest Senior Living Providers of 2017

*Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected from a previous version, which inaccurately stated there was a significant decrease in total units among the largest providers. This was based on a mistaken analysis of the data, confusing resident capacity with unit count. Argentum’s 2016 rankings were based on resident capacity, and this year the rankings are based on unit count. Senior Housing News regrets this error.

While Argentum’s 2017 list of the largest senior living providers closely resembles last year’s, there are some changes of note. There were two changes in the top 10, and there was new data tracked on continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs).*

One big mover was Enlivant, anchored by a 48-property acquisition in September of 2016. The move gave Enlivant more than 11,000 total senior units. They entered the top 10 this year after missing in 2016.

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“Looking forward to 2018 and beyond, Enlivant remains in growth mode and will certainly look to strategically capitalize on compelling opportunities that meet our long term objectives,” Enlivant CEO Jack Callison told Senior Housing News. “However, Enlivant’s ultimate goal continues not to be one of the nation’s largest senior housing operators, but to earn the right to be viewed as the nation’s most trusted senior living provider.”

Brookdale still the big leader

For the third straight year, Brentwood, Tennessee-based Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) topped the list of largest senior living providers, once again dwarfing the rest of the top 10. Brookdale has just over 97,000 senior living units, followed by Holiday Retirement (No. 2 in 2016) with just over 37,100, and then Five Star Senior Living.

“Our business model has evolved in a few different ways,” Five Star Vice President of Sales and Marketing Rob Poyas told Argentum. “We have reduced our reliance on government reimbursement and focused on the private-pay market. Our primary focus will always be the quality of clinical services.”

Rounding out the top five this year are Life Care Services (26,452 units) and Sunrise Senior Living (23,956), followed by Erickson Living (20,119), Atria Senior Living (19,234), Senior Lifestyle Corp. (15,593), and then Enlivant (11,251).

Compared to last year, some of the country’s largest senior housing providers are actually smaller. Brookdale has been taking steps to streamline its mammoth portfolio, and went from 1,123 communities last year to 1,039 this year. Holiday was down slightly from 308 communities to 303 and Life Care Services went from 140 to 125.

The dispositions correlate with a tough year in some respects for operators, with occupancy challenged by new supply in various markets. As noted in Argentum’s report on the data, the occupancy rate for senior housing in the 31 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. dropped 0.5 percentage points from the first quarter of 2017 to the second, landing at 88.8%.

This drop correlated with providers’ pursuit of new building projects, leading to inventory outpacing a change in net absorption, said Beth Burnham Mace, chief economist at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) MAP Data Service.

Additionally, for the first time in the survey’s two-decade history, the survey tracked CCRCs. Erickson Living came out on top, with just over 20,000 units, followed by Life Care Services (19,289) and Brookdale (19,132).

Written by Jack Silverstein

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