Three Pillars Senior Living Communities Breaks Into Active Adult, Expands Offerings

This year is shaping up to be a boom for Three Pillars Senior Living Communities, and the remainder of 2024 is looking good for the single-site community.

That’s according to Mark Strautman, president and CEO of the Dousman, Wisconsin-based nonprofit, who said the changes stem from a strategic plan that began in 2017 that aimed to get its licensed units up to speed to get prepared for the incoming baby boomer.

Three Pillars’ continuum of care includes a 50-bed skilled nursing facility, where 14 beds are for short-term rehab; 150 units of assisted living, both high and low acuity; a memory care unit; and 123 units of traditional independent living.


Renovations on the skilled nursing facility and the addition of the high acuity assisted living offerings took place around 2022, and the nonprofit is looking to expand yet again after reacquiring the 190 acres originally given to start the community back in 1905, which will allow an expansion into active adult.

Once complete, the expansion will provide an additional 110 units of active adult offerings with 13 different floor plans, along with street level amenities including casual and formal dining venues, private dining spaces and a pub with a game room.

“We started off as a purely charitable organization back in the early 1900s. As we’ve evolved, you also need to evolve into a business model,” Strautman said.


Three Pillars active adult portfolio is also seeing a younger demographic enter into independent living offerings, with the average depositor being between 77 and 78, which Strautman noted is around 10 years younger than its seen before.

If all goes to plan, the active adult expansion will see its first units opening in July 2025 with the last units opening fall 2026.

Pre-sales for the new units are going strong, Strautman said, with around 75% currently pre-sold after beginning the process in March 2023. And the offering is attracting residents about 10 years younger than the residents who are coming into Three Pillars’ existing IL.

“We know that there’s a lot on the interest list that are those that are actually waiting to see it start to come out of the ground before they jump on board,” Strautman said. “It’s been a very, very popular concept within the market.”

Occupancy at Three Pillars has been holding out strong as well, with independent living being in the 90% range, skilled nursing essentially staying fully occupied, and lower acuity assisted living being around 95%. Higher acuity assisted living is still in the process of getting up and going, Strautman said, and varies from the 60% to 70% range.

Employee turnover has also been improving as well, with Strautman noting agency usage is low and licensed nurses for the skilled nursing offerings tend to be long term. However, there are still challenges with direct service staff, but the organization is utilizing a recruitment assistance firm to help speed up the onboarding process and screen applicants to ensure they are a right fit.

“We’re in a demographic and geographic area that is really expanding,” Strautman said. “So there’s a lot of movement into our area, a lot of home buildings going on around us, new commercial and retail. And so I think we’re capturing some of the increased demographics that are coming in.”

The remainder of 2024 for Three Pillars will largely be focused on building out the expansion and addressing workforce challenges, with Strautman noting conversations are being held at the state association level about being able to offer support for bringing in legal immigrants.

“We’re unique [in] that we have two different license levels of assisted living, and the market doesn’t necessarily get that yet,” Strautman said. “So we’re working through that as well as new active adult.”