Transforming Age Still Expanding After Four Big Years

Hot off the heels of a years-long, company-wide growth spurt, senior services nonprofit Transforming Age isn’t done growing and changing—not by a long shot, according to President and CEO Torsten Hirche.

“We want to change the world. We want to continue to make a huge impact,” Hirche told Senior Housing News.

Transforming Age—formerly known as Presbyterian Retirement Communities Northwest—is a not-for-profit network of services, products and partnerships dedicated to enhancing the lives of older adults. Its efforts span a wide variety of offerings that include senior housing, home and community-based care, technology, philanthropy and business services.

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The organization currently serves more than 5,000 seniors, roughly 40% of whom live in one of the organization’s 16 senior housing properties in Washington, Minnesota and Nebraska. Those properties run the gamut from affordable and age-restricted housing to independent living, assisted living, memory care and continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs).

But Transforming Age wasn’t always a wide-ranging, multi-state operation. In 2014, the year Hirche came aboard, the organization had just three communities in its portfolio and only cared for about 600 seniors.

Transformative period

One big part of the nonprofit’s mission is growth. Hirche, a former vice president of operations for non-profit CCRC developer and provider Pacific Retirement Services (PRS), knows a thing or two about growing in forward-thinking ways. He helped open two of PRS’ upscale Mirabella communities in Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

“The goal is to expand the mission and expand the impact we make,” Hirche said. “In order to do that, [Transforming Age] couldn’t stay at the size we were.”

Last January, Transforming Age announced the purchase of eight rental retirement communities in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, area, for $138 million. The acquisition marked the first time the nonprofit ventured outside the state of Washington since its founding nearly 60 years ago, and made it the 48th largest senior living nonprofit by total units in the U.S., according to the 2017 LeadingAge Ziegler 150.

The organization also boosted its home care offerings last September by affiliating with Full Life Care, a Seattle-based nonprofit that serves about 3,000 older adults in their homes and in the community.

In 2016, the organization adopted the Transforming Age name to better reflect its overall mission. Almost immediately, the rebranding effort changed the way people look at organization, Hirche said.

“It’s paid off in terms of brand recognition,” he explained. “When I wear our gear, a lot of people think we’re a tech company when looking at the logo. When I describe to people what we actually do, they’re typically blown away.”

Continued expansion ahead

Though Hirche said the organization isn’t interested in growth for growth’s sake—and therefore didn’t lay out any expansion targets—he did identify some geographical regions where the nonprofit might want to build new communities or find senior living providers to affiliate with or acquire.

“We’ll continue to look for opportunities in and around the Midwest and up and down the West Coast,” he said. “The overall goal is to continue to expand.”

Moving forward, Transforming Age is keeping all options on the table. That means all senior care product types and services could be potential targets for expansions, though the organization will very likely continue to stay out of the standalone skilled nursing market.

The organization is also eyeing some large-scale campus expansions, and is working on a variety of new campus development opportunities, Hirche said.

Written by Tim Regan

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