By 2029, 54% of the 14.4 million middle-income older adults in the United States will lack the financial resources to pay for senior living at today’s average market rates, according to the NIC-funded “The Forgotten Middle” middle-market senior housing study released last year.
To best serve this market, senior living operators will need to think more critically about the needs of seniors within this income level, said speakers during a webinar Thursday conducted by Argentum. This may require moving away from popular full-service models of dining / food service and care to more of a partnership arrangement with families and home health providers, in an effort to reduce costs, said Bill Pettit, president of The R.D. Merrill Co.
COVID-19 actually presents a great opportunity to take steps to make that happen, Pettit noted.
“I think there’s going to be opportunities over the course of the next year to purchase buildings at a discounted rate,” he said, adding that “Ultimately, if you’re an operator and you want to serve the largest block of this middle-income senior, you have to rethink the components that the middle-income senior will value.”