Q: Is 2021 going to represent a year of senior living opportunities, or will it continue to be a troublesome year, with challenges?

A: I hope this will be a transitional year, effectively addressing continuing challenges while also investigating the potential future opportunities. 

With the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, senior living communities still are dealing with declining census, staffing challenges and higher operating expenses, all of which are having a negative effect on net operating income. Even with these ongoing challenges, many operators indicate that demand remains high and that prospects are waiting to move in.

With the availability of vaccines and better treatments for COVID-19, now may be the time to consider potential opportunities for new future senior living development. Progressive developers and operators are in the process of identifying markets of opportunity and potential site locations. Market analyses are being conducted to understand and quantify current and future demographic growth, quantity and characteristics of existing competition and demand for living arrangements and services.

Although the demographics appear favorable, the approaching baby boomer population will require the consideration of possible changing consumer preferences. What products, designs, services and care will be needed or desired to address these preferences? 2021 is the year to better understand these changing consumer expectations and stay focused on fundamentals for success.

Editor’s note: This article appeared in the February 2021 print issue as the “You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers” column.

Jim Moore is president of Moore Diversified Services Inc., a national senior living and healthcare consulting firm based in Fort Worth, TX, that has been serving clients for 50 years. He has written five books about senior living and healthcare, including “Assisted Living Strategies for Changing Markets” and “Independent Living and CCRCs.” He has published senior living monthly columns for the past 28 years. Moore may be reached at (817) 731-4266 or jimmoore@m-d-s.com.