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Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Senior housing - 2012 and beyond

The economy is still the number one reason that many seniors have delayed moving into a senior housing community. Other reasons include: utilizing family, technology, medicine and community support to remain in their current environment.

This trend is forcing senior housing communities to accept residents with higher levels of acuity. This is turn can lead to a higher cost of care, and providers may need to raise their costs as a result of increased risk, or change their policies all together to avoid the consequences of higher acuity.

As the profile of senior housing residents change, so will the definition of types of senior care communities. The shift in resident profiles are giving way to a migration in communities:

Independent Living Becomes More Like Assisted Living. As more home and community based services initiatives are implemented, seniors living in apartment complexes or 55+ communities will see a greater level of a la carte services offered that will resemble more of an assisted living “feel” at a lower cost delivery as services will be unbundled.

• Current Assisted Living Facilities will function more like Skilled Nursing. Current nursing homes will be handling the “sickest” seniors in the coming years as an alternative to hospital stays. The traditional model of nursing care will migrate to assisted living communities that can have differing levels of care within those communities. As part of this trend, many assisted living communities are finding that the average age of entry for its communities is increasing as people are living with less care longer.

Dedicated Alzheimer’s care facilities will begin to re-appear in earnest in the next 12-24 months. This trend is similar to a period in the early 2000s when many dedicated memory care communities were established. At the time, there were funding problems and the trend was somewhat ahead of its time given the number of memory care patients. However, a decade later, the supply of ALZ/dementia care communities is low while the demand is steady and increasing, regardless of the funding issues.

Concepts such as multigenerational housing,senior villages, NORC's (naturally occurring retirement communities) co-housing, homes built with in-law apartments and other communal living solutions will continue to gain appeal as individuals and families learn about the costs of senior housing.

Older Americans will increasingly move in with their families—or each other— as the economics of co-housing/co-habitation make a compelling case for multigenerational housing. Each of these solutions provides maximum flexibility but as these models become more popular, regulation and funding to further develop these alternatives may stall future growth.

Those living in single-family homes will invest capital in their homes as more parents move in with their adult children. Using home office spaces, basements, attics and other existing solutions will make way for more formal renovations including the "granny flat" as either an add-on or standalone. Others may opt for prefab cottages or PODS as solutions that can be moved, stored or re-sold when a senior needs to move to a more comprehensive care community.

Renovation will be a key driver in adaptation for senior housing in both single family homes. The key will be the return on the investment (ROI) but given the uncertainty of the amount of time that an elder may live with their children, it is difficult if not impossible to have a sense of certainty with respect to time. And interesting fact that is emerging, is that the resale value of these modifications will have minimal effect on the value of the home unlike more popular renovations such as kitchens and baths.


  1. Thank you so much for publishing this invaluable information. The need is great. As a Senior Move Manager for Smooth Transtions of Central Ohio we help seniors make these moves on a regular basis. As a volunteer on an Alzheimer's Unit of an Assisted Living Community I am seeing the transformation of which you are speaking. It is imperative for seniors and their adult children to be well informed when making the crucial decision of where to go.

  2. Senior housing allows its residents to live a comfortable and secure life. These communities pay attention to specific requirements, needs, and wants of seniors residing in them. They are a safe place to reside in, and provide seniors and retirees with round-the-clock-service. Thanks a lot.


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