Juniper Communities is expanding into membership-based services.
The Bloomfield, New Jersey-based senior living operator is formally launching a new health and wellbeing program with the goal of bringing about the “next generation of senior living,” according to CEO Lynne Katzmann.
The new program, Catalyst, is an “ecosystem of programs and services” where residents will pay a membership fee on top of their monthly rates to access certain lifestyle concierge services. Technology provider Cubigo is powering the service and aiding in its rollout in the coming months.
Through the new program, Juniper is not only looking to add additional years to residents’ lives, but also “life to [their] years.”
“Its goal is very simple: to promote what we call ‘wellspan,’ which is adding quality to the additional years that we want in our lives,” Katzmann said.
With Catalyst, Katzmann said she is also looking to create a nexus for senior living residents to have more control over wellness, payment and programming.
“It’s bringing together all of the residents services function into a unified whole, which is integrated via technology and human support,” Katzmann told Senior Housing News.
Leading the new program and rolling it out in the operator’s 30 Juniper Village communities is Patricia Jacobs, who came to Juniper after working as Cubigo’s U.S. sales director. Jacobs was chosen in part because of her familiarity with Juniper — in fact, she helped create and deploy the technology that supports the new program.
“In that light, for us, it’s coming full circle,” Katzmann said.
Catalyst is just one of the ways Juniper is innovating for the future of senior living and care. The operator is a founding member of the Perennial Consortium, an effort that allows providers to partner on owning Medicare Advantage plans; and it has long extolled the benefits of its Connect4Life program, which provides health care-related coordination, technology and outcomes.
Catalyst for wellbeing
At the core of Juniper’s Catalyst effort is a drive to more closely define what wellness is and means in senior living, and then provide that for residents.
The effort builds on the operator’s Connect4Life integrated care model, Katzmann said.
“What Connect4Life did is it essentially found a way to integrate care providers to better serve our residents,” Katzmann said. “Catalyst is the next step.”
As Katzmann noted during the Senior Housing News DISHED/WELLNESS event in Orlando in June, wellness is holistic and relates to a resident’s “body, mind and spirit.” For example, she believes that wellness is not only measured in a resident’s health outcomes, but also their emotional and intellectual state.
In the past, senior living services were delivered mostly in “silos,” Katzmann said. Although that makes sense from an organizational perspective, that is not the best way to manage resident wellbeing.
Through Catalyst, Juniper’s leaders aim to address that issue in three main areas: hospitality, care and engagement. Users will be able to take part in services based on their interests and preference for social interactions, fitness, and health maintenance.
“We’re actually integrating what had been siloed departments and beginning to think of it as a concerted program for lifestyle management,” Katzmann said.
Residents pay for Catalyst in addition to monthly fees for their apartments. Service packages more similar to Juniper’s current rate structures will be available as an a la carte option for extra services. Total a la carte options may be available in the future, she added. In some Juniper communities, memberships will also be available to older adults living in a defined area around that specific community, Katzmann said.
And Juniper is not the only senior living operator experimenting with that model. A similar example lies with Watermark Retirement Communities’, which is charging residents one-time “membership fees” and then giving them spend-down cards with which to buy a la carte services.
Bella Groves is another example of a senior living operator experimenting with membership-based models, although the operator is looking to offer those services primarily beyond its community walls.
While Catalyst is still coming together, Jacobs said the company has already laid the “foundation” for it among its associates. And if all goes according to plan, the program will see widespread use within a year’s time.
“We are already pursuing in every community more and better programming, elevated programming and more partnerships,” Jacobs said. “The technology will come within the next six months.”
For Katzmann, a baby boomer herself, coming up with a radically new model for how future generations can find wellbeing as they age is personal, as she represents the “customer of the future.” She also has a 90-year-old mother that represents the “customer of today.”
And although she admits it will be a long process, she also believes radical change is necessary for staying competitive down the road.
“We are building for the next generation not only of our customers but within our industry,” she said. “Our industry cannot do things the same way.”
Jacobs joins Juniper
Although Juniper is now kicking the program into higher gear, the company had already piloted for a matter of time with Jacobs’ help.
“We’ve got to now take that pilot, and we’ve got to hone it,” Katzmann said. “And then we’ve got to implement it across our entire system.”
Jacobs also previously worked with Erickson Senior Living, having helped integrate technology into communities for the provider before joining Cubigo. In one instance, she undertook 15 different tech pilots at a new community in Austin, Texas — a feat that eventually helped her land the role at Juniper.
“She’s one of the few people who is technologically savvy, is operationally extremely experienced and and not just in the doing but in leading, which is really critical,” Katzmann said.
Like Katzmann, Jacobs said she shares a vision for a future where senior living residents can access personalized services and programming, no matter where they live.
“And that’s what we’re working on,” she said. “We’re doing it in steps.”