Life Plan Communities Continue to Outpace Rest of Senior Living Industry in Occupancy Rates

Life plan communities are continuing to see higher average occupancy than the rest of the senior living industry in 2023, according to a new analysis. .

Total occupancy for the life plan community sector, which includes for-profit and not-for-profit communities, surpassed the rest of the industry in independent living, assisted living and memory care, according to the new report from Ziegler Investment Bank and the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC).

The report, released this week, includes responses from 1,165 entrance fee and rental life plan communities in these 140 combined markets.


Occupancy for independent living units in life plan communities registered at 90% in the second quarter of 2023, while assisted living saw average occupancy of 86.9% and memory care occupancy of 86.4%, the report noted.

Non-life-plan communities, on the other hand, reported lower average occupancy in the second quarter of the year, with average independent living occupancy at 83.5%, assisted living at 82.5% and memory care 82.6%

Independent living segments in entrance-fee communities showed the strongest occupancy rates, with the vast majority (89%) reporting occupancy levels above 80%, according to the report. Slightly less than three-quarters of rental life plan communities (74%) said their independent living units carried average occupancy rates above 80%.

via Ziegler report

Average independent living resident rates were also higher in life plan communities compared with non-life-plan communities, with rates of $3,828 and $3,789, respectively.

Non-life-plan communities showed the largest year-over-year rent rate increases in assisted living and memory care segments at 5.9%, averaging $6,006 and $7,671 respectively. The asking rent rate for life plan communities saw increases in the same sectors, with assisted living increasing 5% to $6,555 and memory care increasing 5.9% to $8,292.

Despite the stronger occupancy rates, all operators should take heed of residents’ preferences regarding rates in the months ahead, according to NIC Principal Omar Zahraoui. The reason why is that they may impact the rate of occupancy growth ahead.

Even high-end properties are “not immune to the sensitivities of their residents,” he wrote.

“Even residents who can theoretically afford these rate hikes may become resistant after a certain limit,” Zahraoui noted. “It is also important to understand what both current and prospective senior housing residents are prepared to pay, and the potential impact of rate increases on the pace of move-ins and move-outs.”

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