Q.  Could active adult housing help solve the middle-market affordability challenge?

A. Beside value-engineering the physical product (as was discussed in my previous column), reduced operating expenses also can play a role. Many active adult communities are positioned as “service-free,” meaning that they do not provide services that typically are available in traditional independent living. They do, however, facilitate access to these services at the residents’ discretion. For example, referrals can be provided for grocery delivery or restaurant delivery services for meals, Uber or Lyft for transportation, laundry/dry cleaning or housekeeping services.

By not actually providing those services, active adult communities operate with a smaller staff, thereby reducing overall operating expenses. In independent living, staffing expenses can represent approximately 40% of total operating expenses depending on the services provided. Reducing this one area of expense could result in a substantially lower price point for this living arrangement.

Although the physical product is a key component, most consumers interested in this living arrangement desire a maintenance-free lifestyle, with an emphasis on active living and opportunities for social companionship. This should be reflected in all aspects of the community, including location, design, common area spaces, programming and access to services and amenities.

This article appears in the October issue of McKnight’s Senior Living as “You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers” column.

Jim Moore is president of Moore Diversified Services Inc., a national senior living and healthcare consulting firm based in Fort Worth, TX, that has been serving clients for 50 years. He has written five books about senior living and healthcare, including “Assisted Living Strategies for Changing Markets” and “Independent Living and CCRCs.” He has published senior living bimonthly columns for the past 28 years. Moore may be reached at (817) 731-4266 or [email protected].

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