retired couple sitting on a bench

Major market changes, post-COVID-19 disruption and the progress of women in leadership are highlights of a recent report about the largest for-profit senior living providers.

Along with data on the largest providers of assisted living, independent living, memory care and continuing care retirement communities, the 2021 Argentum & Lument Largest Providers Report also provided industry highlights.


Aaron Becker, managing director for Lument, said that although the senior living sector has turned a corner in the fight against COVID, it is not out of the woods yet. 

“Continuing on a positive trajectory toward our ‘new normal’ will require steadfast diligence on the part of operators and all their industry partners,” he wrote in a forward. 

The pandemic was the biggest senior living disruptor in 2020 by keeping workers home, undermining public trust, rattling investors, attracting federal regulatory attention, sending costs soaring and occupancy sinking and adversely affecting resident quality of life, according to the report.

In a snapshot of provider sentiment regarding the pandemic, 53% of respondents reported revenue losses of 10% to 30%, 38% reported losses from 1% to 10%, 9% had losses ranging from 30% to 50%, and 1% of providers indicated they lost 50% to 70% or revenues.

Labor, personal protective equipment and testing were listed as the top three causes of revenue losses.

Most of the providers responding to an informal poll (93%) indicated that they applied for funding from the federal Provider Relief Fund. By the end of the year, however, 9% had not received any funding, and 12% had not received an answer about their application.


Although COVID-19 grabbed the biggest headlines over the year since the last report, real estate investment trusts also have made several changes affecting the industry. 

In 2021, Healthpeak Properties continued its exit from the senior living market except for CCRCs, focusing on those communities plus medical offices and life sciences properties. Earlier this year, Welltower added to its senior living portfolio with a $1.63 billion deal to acquire 86 Holiday Retirement properties. 

Trilogy Health Services’ main stakeholder, Griffin-American Health Care REIT III, last month announced a merger with its REIT IV and American Healthcare Investors to create American Healthcare REIT, which Argentum said is on track to become the largest-ever healthcare initial public offering by the end of 2022. 

And in early 2020, New Senior Investment Group completed its strategy to move entirely to independent living.

Women in leadership

The pandemic saw 2.5 million women leave the workforce, according to Vice President Kamala Harris. Senior living was among the industries hit by the “shecession” due to lack of flexible scheduling and caregiving burdens, the report noted. But senior living also offers something many industries do not: a sense of meaning and purpose in daily work, authors said. 

According to the Argentum report, there is evidence of growth in women in leadership in the senior living industry. Largest Providers reports over the past several years show a slow and steady growth in the percentage of women chief executives on the list. The number of women leaders also has increased with the number of new providers entering the field and the growth of companies led by women, Argentum said.

In 2014, only 8% of the 80 companies listed were led by women chief executives. In 2021, that figure is 19% of the 150 companies listed, with women chief executives leading three of the top 10 companies.