FellowshipLIFE Expands Through Health System Agreement, Furthering Senior Living Trend

New Jersey not-for-profit FellowshipLIFE is continuing the growth it saw in 2023 through an agreement with a regional health care provider, which brings another community into its portfolio.

The agreement, completed with CentraState Healthcare System, will transfer the organization’s Applewood community to FellowshipLIFE, which will assume its operation and management in mid-2024.

“It’s about driving our vision and mission, and making sure we are being thoughtful and strategic to make sure we are well positioned in New Jersey to meet the significant growing need of the aging service marketplace and the consumer,” Brian Lawrence, FellowshipLIFE president and CEO told Senior Housing News.


Increasingly, senior living providers are striking agreements with health systems for closer integration. This trend has included health systems acquiring senior living providers outright – for example, the combination of Sanford Health and the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society – but also other varieties of partnership and collaboration, meant to create more comprehensive and tailored care and services for older adults.

Thomas Scott, president and CEO of CentraState Healthcare System, said the agreement came about after a strategic growth plan identified the capital requirements needed to accomplish key goals. The process of the agreement started in 2023, and was announced Jan. 11. The community, he said, is very similar to FellowshipLIFE’s Basking Ridge community in terms of look and feel in addition to being a fellow nonprofit.

Through the agreement, CentraState will remain “in the picture” with representation on the board of trustees and as preferred provider relationship for the senior living community, which will involve health care providers, the acute-care hospital and other facilities from the nearby hospital.


In addition, once the agreement is completed CentraState will establish a physician group within Applewood, where there will be a primary care physician and associated staff to care for residents. The intention will also be to have rotating specialists to assist with needs of the community when needed.

“What’s beautiful about this relationship is that it’s not lost [and] we will still continue that preferred provider relationship, even as Applewood Village [falls] under Fellowship’s rim, and I think that’s comforting for a lot of the residents at Applewood to know,” Scott said.

The Applewood community covers an existing gap in FellowshipLIFE’s coverage network in central New Jersey, which Lawrence said helps the organization cover the area’s needs.

When the agreement is finalized later this year, Lawrence said the residents and team members currently working there are “the number one priority,” and both CEOs have met with both groups, along with residents’ families, to inform them of the change.

“We’re looking to support them, enhance things where we can and make sure they’re well positioned for the future,” Lawrence said. “What we bring to the table is we’re experts in aging services, and we have a lot of resources and support that can help them be better positioned for the long term.”

The 400-unit community brings FellowshipLIFE’s total portfolio up to five, after it affiliated with and added three communities in 2023, and the organization now has around 1,400 total units of independent living, assisted living and memory care units.

Alongside the partnership, FellowshipLIFE announced it has expanded its relationship with Fairleigh Dickinson University to bring academics to its communities through a lifelong learning program.

The program will feature a series of lectures that are available to the greater community to attend, though residents will be able to attend for free. Digital lectures over Zoom will also be available for residents.

Topics for the lectures will include American history, world history, musical studies, film study and evolutionary science.

Companies featured in this article: