Senior living communities that provide off-campus, in-home services are a “game changer,” providing serious competition with traditional home care companies, according to the newly released results of a small survey.

More than 95% of consumers responding to a HomeCare Advocacy Network survey of primary decision-makers said that they would be somewhat or very interested in home care services offered by a “respected, local senior care community.”

More than 85% of respondents said if a senior living community already is providing an aging loved one with in-home care, it would positively affect the decision to eventually have them move into that community. And almost 50% said they likely would engage a respected senior living community to provide in-home services over other options.

The survey polled more than 20 women aged 45 or more years. Results were released at the Senior Living 100 conference in Miami.

“Our survey confirmed what we’ve long believed: If senior living providers aren’t offering in-home services, they’re missing an incredible opportunity,” HCAN President and CEO Mark Goetz said. “COVID-19 really laid bare the need for in-home care. Families not only want it; they expect it.”

And with the increasing aging population, “there’s never been a better time for senior living providers to jump into the home care arena and start meeting the growing demand,” he said. 

“It could shift the market significantly,” Goetz added. 

He cautioned, however, that home care has delivery nuances that senior living operators have struggled with in the past.

“To be successful, providers shouldn’t view home care as simply an extension of their current business,” Goetz said. “They need to structure it like a new business, one that’s separate from, but complementary, to their current service offerings.”

Goetz, who previously was vice president of home- and community-based services at Asbury Communities, said the results indicate that a provider’s brand is important. Established senior living companies have the ability to cultivate relationships with families early in the senior care journey, paving the way for eventual transition into a community.

“We know that decision-makers — adult daughters and sons — typically call a local senior care community first when their mom or dad needs a little extra help,” Goetz said. “Because of that, we believe they can successfully compete for in-home business on and off their campus.”