Sodalis Sees Small-Home Memory Care as Way to Ward Off Occupancy Woes

Sodalis Senior Living sees small-home memory care communities as a way to stand out in crowded markets.

The New Braunfels, Texas-based senior living provider has nine communities open in the Lone Star State, with three more due to break ground later this year. Those communities include several small- to mid-sized assisted living properties, and some separated or standalone small-home memory care residences.

On the memory care side, Sodalis prides itself on its person-centered care model designed to foster “daily moments of success,” according to Michelle Rainer, the provider’s vice president of sales and marketing. That might mean a resident gets to have their favorite meal, wake up with their favorite beverage, or share a coveted recipe with their neighbors.

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“With a smaller community … it affords us to the freedom to be a little more focused on that individual resident,” Rainer told Senior Housing News.

Sodalis’ small-home model is a way to offer person-centric care at a rental fee that some of their larger peers can’t always match. That’s important because, in the crowded markets where Sodalis operates, such as San Antonio, there is no lack of senior living providers.

Occupancy in San Antonio was near an all-time low at 78% as of the fourth quarter of 2017, according to recent NIC data. At the same time, inventory growth in that market was among the fastest in the nation.

Excluding recently opened communities, Sodalis has a companywide occupancy rate of more than 90%.

“[San Antonio] is probably one of the toughest market in the industry right now. That’s such a saturated market, everyone is having some occupancy challenges and obstacles,“ Rainer said. “We’re a little bit more fortunate, because with us being smaller, we can offer better pricing but still maintain great staffing ratios and great programming.”

Memory care providers have similar faced occupancy challenges in other parts of the country. Still, some providers, such as Artis Senior Living, are expanding their portfolios—though that company is being very selective about what markets it chooses.

Rent at one of Sodalis’ newer memory care communities lies anywhere from $3,200 per month for a shared suite to $5,000 per month for a private apartment—a big price range that gives Sodalis the advantage when attracting middle-market customers, Rainer added.

Like its memory care communities, Sodalis’ business model also benefits from being small and accessible.

“I really think being Texas-developed, owned and operated makes a huge difference [to our customers],” Rainer said. “One of the big things that I think families really enjoy is, if they want to pick up the phone and call the home office and talk to our CEO, they can.”

Looking ahead, Sodalis plans to continue expanding in Texas, while eyeing opportunities in nearby states such as Oklahoma and Colorado. The regional provider plans to open about three communities a year for the foreseeable future.

Written by Tim Regan

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