How Sagora Senior Living Is Easing Growing Pains With Community Support, Integration

Sagora Senior Living is capitalizing on recent growth by integrating systems and bringing frontline teams up to speed as the Fort Worth, Texas-based operator continues to regain occupancy.

Last month, Sagora took on management of 17 additional communities across five states, growing its Asher Point independent living brand in Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company also added two communities in Vero Beach, Florida, near an existing Sagora property.

The recent portfolio expansion follows Sagora’s push in middle-market senior living, having taken on management of 12 former Eclipse Senior Living properties in nine states in 2021. Fast-forward to today, Sagora is now at 82 communities in 12 states.


“This year has been phenomenal,” said Sagora Senior Living Vice President of Corporate Operations Christal Hoffman. “Revenue is ticking up, so all of that truly allows us to be able to say ‘yes’ when a capital provider trusts us and wants us to take on more.”

On Wednesday, Hoffman highlighted recent growth with capital partner Welltower (NYSE: WELL), along with touching on how corporate leaders have helped fuel sustainable growth by providing support to frontline teams. Earlier this year, Welltower transitioned 89 former Atria communities to Sagora and other operators.

Recent improvements in staffing, expense control, and lead volume have helped clear the way for the company’s methodical expansion, which has relied on expanding corporate office support to new communities brought into the Sagora fold.


All of this sustained growth centers on Sagora’s shift to its operating model, restructuring its corporate level to support horizontal growth, Hoffman said. While opportunities are present in the market, Hoffman noted Sagora did not have any additional growth to announce as of mid-June to focus on corporate integration of the newly onboarded communities. But that’s not to say Sagora is unprepared for new opportunities.

“We’re at a place where if we were to be called upon, we could certainly do so,” Hoffman added regarding the addition of new communities to the management portfolio.

Integration is key to sustaining recent growth

Senior living operators have taken different strategies to grow in the last four years, from relying on regional sub-brands and management companies to smaller operators merging to improve performance, to finding new capital partners.

Operators have needed to layer in corporate support to frontline teams to maintain operating performance and provide resident care. To support growth in a similar way, Sagora created a home-office task force to drill down on operations within the first 90 days of a community coming into the portfolio to ensure IT, sales, and marketing systems continuity.

That integration hinges on communication with frontline workers and residents, calming nerves about potential changes that come in the transition of a community, Hoffman said.

As it grows, Sagora seeks regional density, allowing staff in the area to better respond to a newer community’s needs should something arise.

Sagora has created a formula for new-community onboarding based on all of the lessons the company’s leaders have learned in recent years. It’s based on an understanding of which department staff are needed to bring a community up to stabilization, Hoffman said.

“It’s helped teams become supported so they get to know everyone and just to make sure they know they’re not on an island,” Hoffman said. “As long as we provide that resident-first support and our quality doesn’t change, then we will continue to grow.”

Those lessons were used during a bout of severe storms in Houston, where Sagora has a cluster of communities.Sagora corporate support leaders supported its Houston-area communities, assisting one property that had lost power as part of the sweeping outages reported in the city. Executive directors of unaffected communities and home-office staff assisted the community in maintaining resident care and smooth operations during the disruption.

Expense control main focus in managing growth

Rising expenses have posed a significant challenge for operators in the last four years, from higher wage costs to meet competition to rising food prices.

For Sagora, bringing on new communities has become a more streamlined process, with expense control reigning supreme in operations to make sure properties meet operating performance goals while being cost-effective.

Maintaining regional relationships with vendors, especially with multiple community locations in the same city, coupled with using a general purchasing organization (GPO) has helped Sagora find efficiency in purchasing.

When transitioning the latest 17 communities into the portfolio, Hoffman said expense control helps “maintain consistency” in operations, with the recent additions being IL communities, and food costs remain top-of-mind.

“I would say food purchases and culinary are really where we’re making sure that we’re spending the money in the right areas to improve the quality of life for the residents,” Hoffman said.

Companies featured in this article:

, ,