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Three key trends in 2014 for the Assisted Living Industry
1) Celebration of the individual. Who do we serve? What are their dreams (not a past tense question)? Residents (and family members) expect that their individual interest will be taken into consideration. Their past history will be coveted, and subsequently highlighted. Today, a comprehensive resident profile that goes beyond just medical care needs is expected to translate into official care plans, caring for the whole person. 2) Cost of the business. Every year assisted living companies try to weigh expenses relative to possible revenue. In 2014, one of the biggest conversations in many states will be around the primary expense within every assisted living community, the hands on care staff. Often these individuals have completed some official training, thereby helping them achieve the status of a Certified Nursing Assistance (CNAs). However, in many cities, there is a growing shortage of CNAs. This shortage is made additionally challenging by the growing interest by government entities to require more and more training standards for CNAs. Finally, add to the discussion in cities like Washington DC, San Francisco and Seattle, the idea of a living wage minimum wage, and assisted living companies are faced with many financial pitfalls when it comes to expenses. 3) New communities are coming. Sure, Baby Boomers are turning 65 years of age at a count of 10,000 a day. Does the Baby Boomer turning 65 today likely need assisted living today? Assisted living residents average age still remains in the mid-80s. However, with the downturn in many real estate markets, existing assisted living providers and potential providers took the opportunity to buy land previously unobtainable. In 2014, more assisted living options will crop up, the question is what will these new communities provide that the market really needs today? Some existing communities will look to compete mostly on price (a bad recipe given the stress of expenses previously discussed), while others will shift to specialized services and care, likely starting with even memory care specific locations. Welcome to 2014: let it be a year full of opportunity to better serve the seniors who deserve our support.


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