Q: What unique challenges do operators face this year?

A: Here are three big challenges:

  1. Future minimum wage increases. These increases will vary from market to market. You may not hire any minimum wage workers, but there is another pricing tier that starts at about $1.50 per hour above the prevailing minimum wage in a particular area. This means those workers expect to have a wage “premium” over and above the prevailing minimum wage.
  2. CNA labor shortage. Due to shortages, many CNAs are opting for other employers who offer higher base salaries and the perception of future and better benefits.
  3. Aging physical plants. Some operators are actually in their third generation with their older physical plants. Many communities no longer look like the state-of-the-art competitors emerging in many primary market areas. When considering moving to senior living, new prospects and their families are focusing on many competitive issues, such as favorable first impressions, cosmetics, innovative designs and new technology. The senior living business will continue to get more complex. We have to deal with it.

Jim Moore is president of Moore Diversified Services Inc., a national senior housing and healthcare consulting firm based in Fort Worth, TX, that has been serving clients for 46 years. He has authored five books about senior living and healthcare, including Assisted Living Strategies for Changing Markets and Independent Living and CCRCs. Jim Moore can be reached at (817) 731-4266 or jimmoore@m-d-s.com.