GenCare Narrows Senior Living Industry’s Behavioral Health ‘Gap’ With New Partnership

A senior living operator in the Pacific Northwest is going bigger on mental health with a new partnership aimed at helping residents and their families better access — and crucially, pay for — behavioral health services.

Earlier this month, Seattle-based GenCare Lifestyle announced it is the first major senior living operator in the U.S. to implement a new behavioral health program with Rippl Care, a senior-focused mental health startup founded last year by former Aegis Living President Kris Engskov.

Under the new arrangement, Rippl clinicians are slated to provide services such as crisis-level support, diagnosis, medication management, and therapy for older adults living with dementia and other behavioral health challenges.


Residents can access those services through telehealth visits or private in-person meetings, with the latter aimed at helping older adults get past personal stigmas regarding accessing mental health services.

The services include care plans for residents and their families and are in-network with Medicare and Medicaid. Seattle-based Rippl is additionally in the process of establishing relationships with Washington health insurers to help cover the services, and the company also is working on a modified rate structure for residents who do not have health insurance.

GenCare, which piloted Rippl’s services available in two communities near Tacoma, Washington, is initially extending the arrangement to two additional communities with the announcement: The Ballard Landmark in Seattle and the Lodge at Eagle Ridge in Renton, Washington.


GenCare operates a portfolio of six senior living communities in the Puget Sound area with a seventh under development set to open in 2024.

The decision to link up with Rippl was aimed at addressing a “big gap” in the care and services the operator provides for its residents, according to GenCare Lifestyle Founder and CEO Leon Grundstein.

“People don’t have the knowledge of how to access mental health care,” Grundstein told Senior Housing News. “We’re not trained to do that kind of mental health.”

Grundstein noted that older adults commonly face a “myriad” of challenges in senior living communities, including depression, grief, memory issues and loneliness. Almost three-fourths of senior living residents live with some kind of behavioral health needs, according to a 2022 analysis from NORC at the University of Chicago.

Since the pilots, GenCare is now “reaping really good benefits from it,” Grundstein said.

“We tweaked the program a little bit, but it’s been really well received,” he added.”

Behavioral health amounts to a massive albeit relatively untapped market for senior living, and the value-based care movement is helping to propel the trend forward. GenCare’s new arrangement is “a model for making highly specialized behavioral and mental health care easier to find and much more convenient,” the company noted in an announcement.

Rippl launched last year with a sizable $32 million in seed funding from backers including ARCH Venture Partners and General Catalyst. Looking ahead, Rippl’s Engskov believes behavioral health represents a seismic force changing the industry.

“There have been billions of dollars invested in mental health in the last three years, but … the majority has certainly not been targeted at seniors,” Engskov told Senior Housing News last year. “And yet, to me, it seems obvious that this is going to be the biggest market in the history of our country, and we have to be prepared for what’s coming.”

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