How Generations, Maxwell Group, Autumn Glen Are Building New Wellness-Focused Business Models

Senior living operators are using new operating models and technology to attract the next generation of residents. At the center of some of those efforts are business models built on enriching and supporting resident wellbeing.

The industry at large is full of new ideas in this regard, from developing health monitoring programs and drafting personalized care plans to partnering with leading organizations to boost resident health outcomes.

While residents are the focal point of the industry’s wellness efforts, operators including Generations LLC, the Maxwell Group and Autumn Glen Management Group are now forging ahead with plans to implement new programs. As they are planning and thinking about wellness, they are doing so with consideration to their bottom lines in addition to resident outcomes.


For example, Generations is spinning up a model based on a future where a partner like a health plan might share revenue or help offset costs in other ways in exchange for better managing residents’ care.

“We care for our residents, we … help manage their meds, the activities of daily living — the health systems get that information from us,” said Generations President and Executive Chairman Chip Gabriel, during the recent Senior Housing News DISHED/WELLNESS event in Atlanta. “We have eyes on their members every day, so how do we share data with them?”

Care coordination and partnerships

Generations has taken the concept of wellness at every level to heart, and for years now the company has been a proponent of the Blue Zones concept.


The concept of “blue zones” first rose to prominence through the work of Dan Buettner, who helped identify “longevity hotspots” around the world and studied the lifestyles, environments and other factors at play in these locations.

Generations has sought to emulate these zones by prioritizing in its business model some of the nine principles within the established Blue Zone research, including plant-based diets, reducing stress and building community.

“Health, wellness, and vitality has always been a big part of our communities that we generate,” Gabriel said.

Generations saw a big opportunity to go even further after Blue Zones’ acquisition in 2020 by Adventist Health, an integrated health system serving more than 80 communities on the West Coast and Hawaii. Generations had an existing partnership with Adventist, which had been a co-developer for three senior living campuses with the organization.

Generations has plans in the works for residents and workers at the communities to become “Blue Zone Champions,” with a focus on Blue Zone principles and opportunities for pursuing them, opening the door for other senior living operators to onboard the principles.

The senior living industry has long been “siloed” from the rest of the health care industry, according to Gabriel. But given that “​​most of the country is moving towards a Medicare Advantage type of payment system,” Gabriel envisions a world in which operators see financial upside by saving money from coordinating and improving care.

Nathan Madigan, partner and president of Autumn Glen Management Group, said the organization’s wellness journey started many years ago.

Today, Atlanta, Georgia-based Autumn Glen Management Group operates two large scale full continuum communities with a 45-acre campus under development. The company takes on skilled nursing and has slowly seen an increase in Medicare Advantage plan usage, from 15% to 40% for short-term stays. That shift is something Madigan said was evolving over time.

“I think we’re just going to keep seeing that and so it’s certainly important that we are part of that today,” Madigan said. “So differentiating yourself by showing you can have good outcomes — reducing hospitalizations — that’s very important.”

Madigan added, “That is then able to be the center of the wheel to support all the higher acuity levels.”

Rethinking wellness offerings

To Maxwell Group CEO and President Ben Thompson, wellness is more than a cool perk or line on a brochure. Residents are not only interested in a community’s amenities or services, but also how they can enable them to live longer, healthier lives. As such, wellness has an important purpose in senior housing.

That philosophy led Maxwell Group to create Weller Life, a brand and concept centered on wellness as a differentiator.

Under the Weller Life model, residents would not live in large congregate communities, but instead in clusters of single-family homes on sprawling sites, with access to amenities like clubhouses or fitness facilities.

Instead of offering the kind of all-inclusive services and meals of more traditional senior living communities, the concept is “stripping away” the core components of senior living in almost every respect, save for one big area: Wellness.

The concept is a play for boomers who do not want to live in traditional communities — a group that makes up a sizable chunk of today’s market, according to Thompson.

“Wellness is what’s going to attract the customer that’s not coming to senior housing today,” Thompson said.

By having designated areas within a community for wellness-related programming, Thompson said having the physical space allows teams to determine the benefit of each space.

“We spend a lot of time talking about the actual outcomes and effects, and not just what we have,” Thompson said.

Residents living in a Weller Life Community will have the option to purchase home-based services through Maxwell’s private-duty home care company, ​​Live Long Well Care, including in 30-minute increments. The end goal is to give them the ability to age in their homes without saddling them with paying for care or services they don’t need or want.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Maxwell operates 15 communities, including under the Senior Living Communities brand.

Autumn Glen has over the last two decades expanded its wellness centers at its communities by 2,500 square-feet as demand for wellness-based amenities has grown. Residents have baseline fitness assessments, with physical and mental components to determine personalized care plans. Over time, residents are monitored to track fitness progress and adapt changes over time.

Gabriel is collaborating with a group that includes investment firm Formation Capital and the co-founder of Medicare Advantage plan provider Alignment Healthcare. The group’s aim is to “break down the walls of senior living” by better tracking and improving resident outcomes using health records and other data.

The group is focusing on creating campuses, such as the Generations community Paradise Village near San Diego, into wellness-forward intergenerational hubs with technology integrated throughout. The concept also includes potential memberships for older adults to access services and amenities, with the intention of covering them with Medicare Advantage.

Gabriel noted that the company has many residents on Kaiser Permanente health plans. And ultimately that is an opportunity to work with companies like Kaiser on better care coordination, as it would benefit both from a cost perspective.

“When we have the data, we can prove what we’re doing,” he said. “We are going to take the time and the investment to try to figure this out.”

Gabriel also added that Generations intends to translate its wellness model in the middle-market price point, a wide gap that operators have been trying to solve in recent years.

The company recently bought a community in Tennessee with which to test its thesis, Gabriel said.

“We’re augmenting that information together into predictive outcomes of what is keeping people healthy and well,” Gabriel said. “We’re still proving a theory, but what we’re hoping to do is be able to work with health plans.”

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