Larry Cohen, a senior living industry veteran and former CEO of Capital Senior Living, has taken the helm of newly launched senior living operating firm Trustwell Living, joined by three additional long-time colleagues. 

Cohen has more than 32 years of experience in the senior living industry, including 21 years with Dallas-based Capital. He was CEO of the firm for 19 years before retiring Jan. 1, 2019. He is also a founding member and former chairman of the board of directors of the American Seniors Housing Association and serves as chairman of its Senior Living Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

“I love the business of senior living,” Cohen told the McKnight’s Business Daily in an interview Monday afternoon. “I think it’s in my blood.”

He is joined by long-time Capital Senior Living colleagues Greg Boemer and Colleen Honnors, RN, BSN, who will serve as Trustwell’s senior vice president of operations and quality and clinical director, respectively. Another former Capital colleague will take on sales and marketing responsibilities next month, Cohen said. Together, the four-person leadership team has more than 100 years of industry experience. 

“We worked closely together for more than a decade, during which time our organization established a track record of generating industry leading operating and financial results through various economic and senior living cycles,” Cohen said. 

Trustwell’s focus will be on leveraging its team’s skill set, community empowerment philosophy and data-driven analytics to hire, retain and support top talent in the senior living industry, Cohen said. The approach will allow the company and its team members to provide quality services and care to residents, improve operations and financial results for owners as well as partner with institutional investors to acquire and operate senior living communities.

“The idea is that we really want to have leadership at the community level with the autonomy, the responsibility and the accountability to be successful,” he said. “Our mission really is to enhance the lives of seniors and their families.”

Cohen said taking some time away from the industry has allowed him to come back refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead for senior living operators, particularly amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s fatigue in the industry right now,” Cohen said. “This creates opportunity, because a lot of operators and owners are getting to the point where they are thinking about whether or not it’s a good time for them to exit the industry.” He added that although right now the firm has no plans for new developments, it does have several transactions underway and a “nice pipeline” established.

“We believe we can buy better than we can build today,” Cohen said, adding that the company is looking particularly at older properties in need of new leadership or additional capital expenditure investment, as well as newer facilities that have had challenges leasing up.

“We’re most interested in properties where we feel that we can really make an impact and improve,” he said.