With apologies to the Beatles, I read the news today. Oh boy.
What really stuck in my craw this time was a piece in the New York Times, by the name of “Boomers create a surge in luxury care communities.”
The story is about what you might expect. Here’s the gist: A handful of small operators are getting fat and happy as they help rich residents do the same.
You can almost hear Robin Leach reading the piece out loud, as much is made of the views, architectural touches and high-end amenities that these $10,000-a month-and-up communities can offer.
To be sure, there is nothing wrong with serving upper crusters in a way that complements their lifestyles. After all, we live in a capitalist society. If someone has that kind of cabbage to throw around and others are willing to help them do it, what’s the harm?
Still, there’s something about this piece makes me feel a bit tense and morose. And I think I’ve finally figured out what that something is.
You see, it’s sort of like those gushing stories that pop up when some lucky schmuck wins a big lottery. We kind of feel happy for him or her. But what should we say to all the other unlucky lottery ticket buyers who were less fortunate? Better luck next time, losers?
So while we can feel good for the relatively few senior living residents whose good fortune allows them to load up on zebra pate or ostrich bisque at lunch time, what about those with far fewer commas in their holdings?
The reality is this: There are many more people out there who cannot even afford middle-of-the-road senior living, much less go the upscale route.
So to any developer or operator with thoughts of snapping off some of that luxe pie, here’s my advice: forget about it. Why? Because for every successful entry, there will be many, many losers.
Instead, figure out a way to serve the crowd lining up at gas stations and convenience stores whenever a lottery drawing threatens the $500 million mark. Get those folks in your building at a profit, and you’ll be the one living a lifestyle of the rich and famous.