In The News: Emerging Trends in CCRC Developments
The 2008 real estate crash encouraged smarter CCRC developments. Leasing is gaining ground in popularity on entrance-fee structures. Rental rates are not necessarily inexpensive. Top monthly rental rates for independent living and assisted living are in the range of $10,000 a month at newly completed developments like the Bolfour at Riverfront Park, but eliminating the big upfront fee allows residents to keep their money invested. One big lesson of the financial crisis is that older investors need to stay in the stock market to stay ahead of inflation. The era of bond clipping seniors is over.
CCRC site selection is also evolving to include more urban-based highrise developments. This tracks the larger urban revival for younger buyers. A vibrant community in a bustling downtown environment is a stronger attraction to many prospects than the traditional suburban site. A lot of people like the energy of the city. CCRCs continue to diversify to match evolving tastes.
They are a captive audience you see every day, and that makes it crucial to keep it fresh and exciting, with menus that live and breathe and reflect what’s seasonal. — Chef Joel Ingegno of Chicago’s Mather LifeWays
Seniors are looking for a true dining out experience when sharing the traditional one-meal-a-day offered at most CCRCs. Current marketing efforts reflect this emerging trend with a strong emphasis on CCRC dining food quality. A survey by the Nutrition and Foodservice Education Foundation found 90% of long-term care residents ranked foodservice as very or somewhat important when choosing a facility.
Residents come here to socialize, talk about their day, enjoy some wine…they’re going out to dinner every night. We need to make that a real experience for them, from the minute they’re greeted at the hostess desk to wait staff who respond to their every need — Chef Joel Ingegno
Options Beyond the Basics
A recent survey conducted by Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging surveyed 600 senior living organizations representing more than 1,000 communities from 15 states to identify top emerging trends in senior living communities.The survey showed five areas with growing trends:
- Technology. Increased use of technology to create safer environments and higher levels of independence. This includes offering “smart home” technology, WiFi access throughout the community and technology training courses for residents.
- CCRCs without walls. Senior living providers will expand services “beyond” their four walls. With the staff and established expertise, CCRCs are offering services to seniors still living at home without requiring a move into the community. This has two benefits. It leverages existing resources and it brings a larger number of seniors inside the CCRC’s service network, expanding the base of potential future residents. See related article 3 CCRC Emerging Trends.
- Support Person-Directed Care. Long-term care is transforming to support person-directed care and meaningful relationships. The Green House® project is an example a CCRC emerging trend within the long-term care component. The Green House® project is currently a stand-alone long-term care facility for 6-10 residents using a self-managed team and clinical support staff. As a fairly recent emerging trend, time will tell how this will become incorporated into the traditional CCRC. Language from The Green House project shows up in describing smaller work and resident units as neighborhoods or clusters. Masterpiece Living and The Eden Alternative are other systems of care that emphasize care as requested or desired by the person being supported, and not care done to the patient.
- The 3 Cs: choice, control and convenience. Seniors are demanding more choices, control, and convenience. This includes more financing options (see related article 3 CCRC Emerging Trends), customized programs (see related article Live Long), and access to on-demand services.
- Changing consumer perceptions and expectations. Familiar labels can carry different connotations as perception of the language changes. To a baby boomer, activity director sounds dated and controlling versus life coach which sounds empowering. Marketing and operations both have to keep current with evolving consumer tastes. The generational change over to baby boomer tastes will require a response by management.