Q. What are trends and challenges to watch in the senior housing industry in 2023?
A. Things are improving, but in 2023, issues still will need to be addressed.
As we end 2022 and swing into 2023, it appears that the senior living industry will be dealing with many of the same operational challenges as in 2022, including availability of and cost of labor, increased operating expenses and inflation.
Occupancies are slowly increasing, and operators have achieved rent increases, but many communities are still dealing with less-than-optimum census. The good news is that the demographics are in our favor, and there continues to be future demand.
Some key issues that now are being addressed:
- Will younger senior cohorts (baby boomers) be attracted to senior housing? What do they want in terms of the physical product and lifestyle, and how do we get them to move into those communities?
- How can the industry address future affordability challenges or the middle-income market? This involves value-engineered designs, unbundled services, alternative service delivery systems, use of third-party home care companies and more.
- Will active adult housing expand the continuum of care and attract young seniors? It offers maintenance-free and service-free living with access to amenities and socialization opportunities to attempt to target a younger senior and affordability. Communities are built as freestanding developments or as an addition to an existing continuum of care.
Many new approaches to operations, marketing and communications and service delivery have resulted in favorable effects for the senior living industry. Use of and reliance on technology, digital tools and virtual communication are the kinds of resources that will be useful in communicating with this next generation of senior prospects. Telehealth services, partnerships with third-party home health and caregiver providers and delivery of on-site healthcare services increasingly are being used for the convenience of both the operators and the residents. All of those things also should be helpful in addressing affordability.
Continued future improvement and success will require staying focused on fundamentals and clearly defining and communicating your market position including a description of the lifestyle, amenities and benefits of this living arrangement.
Lynne Moore is president of MDS Research Company Inc., a national senior living and healthcare consulting firm based in Fort Worth, TX, that has been serving clients for 48 years. MDS is a two-generation company – she is following in Jim Moore’s footsteps. Lynne Moore is responsible for all MDS market research-related projects involving all aspects of senior housing and healthcare. She can be reached at (817) 731-4266 or [email protected].
This column appeared as “You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers” in the December 2022 print issue of McKnight’s Senior Living magazine.
The opinions expressed in each McKnight’s Senior Living guest column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Senior Living.
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