You probably won’t see any of the current or future members of the new Residential Assisted Living National Association on a “largest provider” list, and that’s by design.

The organization recently was formed to represent smaller assisted living and memory care operators that run single-family-style homes as care settings for older adults.

More than 30,000 such homes already operate in the United States, and they are especially common in Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, Oregon and Washington, according to the Phoenix-based organization. The need is expected grow as baby boomers age.

Member facilities will average six to 16 residents, although some could have approximately 50 residents, and some will operate multiple small facilities, Carolyn Matthews, director of marketing for the group, predicted to McKnight’s Senior Living. “But they will all be similar to a single-family home,” she said.

“We’re very passionate about making a difference,” Matthews added. One way the group hopes to make a difference is by conducting national and state lobbying and education efforts.

Some states don’t regulate small assisted living communities, she said, whereas other states consider them group homes and align them with drug rehabilitation facilities and halfway houses, which have a different focus. Still others,  Matthews added, treat smaller senior living operators the same as larger ones, even though they may have different concerns.

“The industry is changing, and we need to be represented,” she said.

Other goals for the organization include raising awareness of and marketing smaller owners/operators, and taking advantage of group buying power.

Formation of the group was announced Nov. 11 at the first Residential Assisted Living Convention, held in Scottsdale, AZ. The association and convention are under the umbrella of the Assisted Living Network. The network also includes the Residential Assisted Living Academy, which instructs interested parties on how to operate facilities, and a few other entities. For now, they share staff.

The origins of the network and its offerings, Matthews said, can be traced to Gene Guarino, a certified financial planner and real estate investor who got into assisted living when he couldn’t find a high-quality home for his mother when she needed one. The academy grew out of requests from people who saw his subsequent success as an operator and wanted “time and money freedom [while] providing good care and a legacy for their families,” Matthews said.

State chapters of the Residential Assisted Living National Association are forming now, and some large states ultimately may form regional chapters as well. The next Residential Assisted Living Convention is planned for Oct. 25 to 28 in Phoenix.