Senior couple relaxing on porch, holding hand, laughing

A pilot program creating a senior housing scorecard for independent living, assisted living and memory care communities is designed to help owners optimize their properties to promote the health and wellness of residents and employees, according to its developer.

Fitwel, the healthy building certification system created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. General Services Administration and operated by the New York-based Center for Active Design, or CfAD, launched the scorecard to provide design and operational strategies, as well as public health strategies, to senior living community owners. It was developed from hundreds of academic studies and feedback from senior living operators of Chicago-based investment management company Harrison Street.

“The senior housing scorecard directly translates the strongest research into impactful design and operational strategies, yielding a tool that can both benchmark current assets and inform future capital and options investments that promote health and wellness, and mitigate the spread of infectious disease,” CfAD President and CEO Joanna Frank said.

Senior housing-related companies participating in the scorecard pilot program include Emshih Developments, a Vermont-based property development company; Pennsylvania-based Willow Valley Communities; Harrison Street; Michigan-based American House; Nebraska-based Dial Senior Living; New York real estate developer Engel Burman; Texas-based property management company Retirement Center Management; and Oregon-based The Springs Living.

Two Harrison Street New York communities prototyped the scorecard and informed the broader pilot effort. 

“This comprehensive scorecard includes both the essential requires in a well-operated senior housing community, as well as strategies that will push the industry further,” Harrison Street Chief Impact Officer Jill Brosig said. “Given the pandemic, having a well-respected organization certify a building as healthy is an imperative that promotes greater levels of trust, transparency and confidence among senior housing staff, residents and families.”

The publicly available scorecard is expected to be released in early 2021.