Seniors Housing Event Top 5 Takeaways

Vince Vitti, infinitee’s Vice President of Business Development, recently attended two real estate conferences in Atlanta: InterFace Seniors Housing Southeast 2019 (hosted by Seniors Housing Business and Southeast Real Estate Business magazines, along with France Media’s InterFace Conference Group) and Showcase 2019 (hosted by Atlanta Realtors Association). Here are Vince’s Top 5 Takeaways from these informative events.

  1. Recession
    • The “R” word was a hot topic at both real estate conferences and depending upon who was delivering the message. All speakers had different opinions on when it will start and how long it will last. Some believe it has already started and some believe it will kick into high gear in 2020. However, there are a few optimists still out there! They believe we are headed for a slowdown or correction but not a recession. They turn to a historically low unemployment rate combined with continued confidence in the economy as factors that change will impact the type of slowdown we are expecting in 2020. I’m on their side! We don’t have to talk ourselves into the “R” word. 
  2. Differences in Seniors Housing Today vs. 20 Years Ago
    • “This is not your grandparent’s Cadillac anymore.” That was one of my favorite lines from the ad agency that was tasked with repositioning the brand from being a luxury car for seniors to a high-class, high-performing machine built for all ages and demographics. They succeeded! And the panelists from InterFace Seniors Housing felt the same way. It’s no secret that baby boomers are demanding more amenities and better technology than their parents did. For seniors housing to maintain high levels of occupancy, they have to deliver all the comforts of home plus make it look and feel like a resort, and stay away from institutional style decor. You can read more about what active adults want in our recent blog post.   
  3. Seniors Housing is a Relationship Industry 
    • Josh Crisp from Solinity and Traci Bild from Bild & Co. are changing the way we think about seniors housing. Both agreed that the low unemployment rate has really impacted the level of talent at the property level. Josh says it’s all about relationships and if your resident or member has a bad experience, it will impact sales and retention. The relationship starts with the sales process (the first touchpoint with a resident or parent-child), continues through move-in, and throughout the life of the resident. I agree with Traci Bild, you have to invest time and energy into training your staff, at all levels, to maintain a high level of service. 
  4. Amenities & Design
    • If you don’t build it, they will not come. We are in an amenities arms race for the biggest fitness center, largest outdoor common space, and Olympic-sized pools. Not to mention dog parks, easy access to shopping and wellness, extra large clubhouses and multiple dining rooms. One developer summed it up well by saying, “Watch out for the multifamily and mixed-use investor and developer – they will crush our industry if we don’t evolve and build less institutional style housing.”
  5. Staffing Issues
    • Whether you’re staffing for Independent Living or Assisted Living, every operator is experiencing issues with talent – quantity and quality. Historically low unemployment rates have extended the war for talent and it is an employee market. Every industry is facing shortages and the seniors housing industry continues to find ways to attract and retain talent. More and more communities have put an emphasis on training and retention to grow their own. In my opinion, seniors housing needs to mirror what Johnson & Johnson did in 2002 to promote a career in nursing. Learn more at https://nursing.jnj.com/

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