Most-Read Senior Housing News Stories of 2020

With Covid-19 dominating the news for most of 2020, it’s no surprise that the most-read stories of the year were all related to the pandemic.

In particular, readers were interested in how Covid-19 might change the way that communities are designed, with the top two stories both focused on this topic. And the hottest design topic was the small-house model.

In fact, a story focused on this topic took the top spot on the list as well as the No. 5 spot. And that No. 5 story was published before the pandemic gripped the nation, making it the only article from on this list that was published before March.


All these stories capture a moment in time. Many were published in the early days of the pandemic. Some of these pieces are still very relevant today and some are less relevant. So, we’ve included links to follow-up reading to provide additional — in some cases, more timely — information.

This year was unusual, to say the least. But as in most years, the most-read stories include a close looks at big topics, thoughts from notable leaders, and a story about the industry’s largest provider, Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD).

We hope you find this list interesting and helpful as you take stock of the incredibly challenging last 12 months. We wish all our readers happy holidays. Thanks for reading.


‘Smaller is Better’: Covid-19 Primes Senior Living for Rise of Small-House Models

Publish date: June 3

Key quote: “I feel the boutique [small-house model] is going to provide a different alternative to people, post-Covid. I think that this is a favorable opportunity, compared to being in these big-box buildings.” — Shepherd Premier CEO Brandon Schwab

Further reading:

Recommended SHN+ Exclusives

With Focus on Small-Home Senior Living Market, Startup Cohana Sees 140% Growth

How Covid-19 May Validate Cantina’s Pocket Neighborhood Active Adult Model

Best Stand-Alone Memory Care 2016: The Small-House Concept Meets Mother Nature

How Covid-19 Is Shaping the Future of Senior Living Architecture and Design

Publish date: April 7

Key quote: “We shouldn’t overreact and design for quarantinable buildings. Do you want to live in a hospital for the last 15 years of your life?” — David Dillard, Principal and Architect at HKS

Further reading:

The Assisted Living Community of the Future Takes Shape This Summer

How New Senior Living Architecture, Designs Are Supporting the Wellness Model

Senior Living Industry Rethinks Building Designs, Improvises Solutions During Covid-19

Marketing in the Face of Covid-19: Senior Living Teams Get Creative

Publish date: March 22

Key quote: “[Marketing teams should be] focused on helping clients move from panic to proaction.” — Bild & Company Founder and President Traci Bild.

Further reading:

Senior Living Marketing Leaps Into Digital Age With Innovations, Investments

Senior Living Sales Teams Succeed With ‘Raw and Real’ Virtual Tours During Covid-19

Covid-19 Hurts Sales, But Senior Living Teams Work Creatively To Reach Consumers

Independent Living Faces Covid-19 Vulnerabilities As Less Needs-Based Product

Publish date: April 12

Key quote: “We’re almost 97% occupied across our portfolio. Unless a rash of [Covid-19 related] deaths happen, we’re not worried.” — Clover CEO Michael Joseph.

Further reading:

Life Plan Communities Buoyed by Independent Living Resilience, Strong Home Sales

Independent Living Consumer Sentiment Solid, Pandemic Exposes Pain Points To Address For Future Success

Independent Living Proves Resilient to Covid-19 Pressures

How Clover is Scaling Middle-Market Senior Living Using an Integrated Approach

Senior Living Innovators Zero In On Small Homes, Pocket Neighborhoods

Publish date: February 6

Key quote: “At the end of the day, it’s about change and thinking differently, and if we don’t do that, we’re in trouble.” — Lisa McCracken, director of senior living research and development at Chicago-based specialty investment bank Ziegler.

Further reading:

Best Independent Living Design of 2018: A Senior Living Spin on a Pocket Neighborhood

Bill Thomas: ‘Big Box’ Senior Living No Longer the Only Game in Town

Rose Villa Expands Pocket Neighborhood Model with Zero-Energy Cottages

Coronavirus Put People Out Of Work. Senior Living Providers Want to Hire Them.

Publish date: March 16

Key quote: “While the economic impact of hospitality and other business closures or reductions are heartbreaking for many, it is an opportunity for these workers to find immediate and rewarding work where they are desperately needed right now, in senior care.” — Erin Shvetzoff Hennessey, CEO of Health Dimensions Group

Further reading:

Senior Living Providers Adjust Operations, Raise Pay to Meet Covid-19 Staffing Challenges

Avamere Sees Dramatic Surge in Hiring Pipeline, Strikes Union Deal Amid Covid-19 Crisis

Senior Living Industry Seeks to Expand a Covid-19 Hospitality Hiring Wave

Hiring Displaces Retention as Top Senior Living Labor Challenge

Innovator Bill Thomas: Covid-19 Will Lead to Senior Living ‘Reset’ Lasting 3 to 5 Years

Publish date: March 25

Key quote: “I would be more worried about the future of high amenity, high-end senior housing based on a leisure concept and more optimistic about a vision of senior living based on a really solid foundational strategy for delivering health and wellness.” — Bill Thomas

Further reading:

Bill Thomas: Minka Small-Home Concept ‘Climbing the Mountain’ Toward Scalability

Intergenerational Model for Dementia Care Taking Shape Around Bill Thomas’ Minka Homes

Senior Living Innovator Bill Thomas Introduces MAGIC Housing Model

Aegis Living CEO: Senior Housing Will Not Return to Normal After Covid-19

Publish date: April 28

Key quote: “If you just think you’re fighting the virus, you’re being naive.” — Aegis CEO Dwayne Clark said.

Further reading:

Changemakers: Dwayne Clark, Founder and CEO of Aegis Living

Aegis CEO: Next 100 Days Will Be Hard, Then Senior Living Will Start Turnaround

Aegis, Sabra, New Perspective Adapt Strategies for Covid-19 Paradigm Shifts

Aegis Adapts to Shifting Development Landscape, On Track to Double Portfolio Size

Brookdale CEO: We Reinvented Our Business Model, Are Primed for Sustained Pandemic

Publish date: September 13

Key quote: “We learned a lot as an industry during Covid-19. Being able to see patients in their homes, in our communities, making sure that the patients are getting the right care when they need it, that is so important. And I’m sure that, as a result of this very fast, very focused learning, we’re going to continue to see better, more productive relationships with the health care systems.” — Cindy Baier, CEO of Brookdale Senior Living

Further reading:

Atria, Brookdale, Other Providers Hold First Clinics for Long-Awaited Covid-19 Vaccine

Brookdale Reportedly Mulling Sale of Home Health, Hospice Business

Tips From Brookdale, CVS, Walgreens On a Successful Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout

Brookdale Occupancy Hits 73% As More Providers Report Census Declines

Senior Lifestyle, Brookdale, LCS Top New J.D. Power Senior Living Rankings

No Turning Back: Senior Living Finally Enters Digital Age as a Result of Covid-19

Publish date: April 2

Key quote: “We’ve been sprinting toward telehealth.” — Maplewood Senior Living COO Shane Herlet

Further reading:

Merrill Gardens President: Google Nest Initiative Has Made Me ‘A Believer’ In the Tech

Tech, Operations and Design Combine for Senior Living Infection Control Innovation

Senior Living Tech Spending Skyrockets Amid Covid-19, With Questions About Future

Companies featured in this article:

, , , , , , , ,