Question of the Month: Home Health’s Impact on Seniors Housing

by Jeff Shaw

Does the government’s increased emphasis on home health pose a threat to the seniors housing industry?

Plan benefits all care models

By Paul A. Gordon


Hanson Bridgett LLP

The Biden plan to provide funding for home- and community-based care is not a threat to the senior living industry, and may present an opportunity for growth. 

Most senior living providers are private pay and do not serve the Medicaid population to which the Biden plan funds are directed, so they are unlikely to lose customers to better-funded home care providers. Moreover, seniors housing providers easily could expand their service offerings to include off-site home care. A greater government emphasis on non-institutional care should benefit all care models.


All part of wider trends

By Jesse Marinko


Phoenix Senior Living

President Biden’s proposal follows a natural trend coming out of COVID that offers seniors more services and support to stay within their own home if they so choose. 

Seniors are waiting to move into communal settings longer, thus driving up the average age of move-in. You have already seen developers and operators start to move their service offerings further toward independent living and active adult settings to try and combat this trend. However, needs-based housing like assisted living and memory care will always pose as a viable option for families and seniors due to costs being more effective in those settings.


Our industry will benefit

By Talya Nevo-Hacohen

Chief Investment Officer

Sabra Health Care REIT

Support of home- and community-based services will help seniors regardless of where services may be delivered, including senior housing. Increased funding will expand the safety net for the rapidly growing population of seniors. It also gives seniors greater choice regarding the setting of their choice.

We have already seen independent living communities avoid disruption for residents with higher needs through home health services. The expansion of home- and community-based services could make seniors housing more accessible, allowing more people to enjoy a non-institutional setting.


Not the same market

By Frank Haffner


Monarch Senior Living

Senior living generally focuses on the high-income seniors in the top 30 percent. In addition, the industry only penetrates a small fraction of the seniors over 75 since 90 percent of the market lives at home. 

The Biden program will have little impact on the demand for senior living since the home is not a viable option and many prefer the benefits of having a professional staff to cater to their needs. These seniors also want to be in an upscale, service-enriched environment that encourages socialization and promotes well-being.


Labor will get a boost

By David Sharp

Managing Director

MidCap Financial Services

The proposed Biden plan will provide needed support and augment options for seniors. Assuming the plan supports strengthening the workforce, the industry will benefit from an expanding pool of qualified care providers. 

Operators can also use the opportunity to enhance their own outreach by offering home care options as an extension of services provided at the community. They will be able to market and showcase the benefits of socialization and activity-based programming. The enhanced brand awareness will greatly improve the desirability of the community as the lifestyle or care needs change for the prospective resident.


Emphasize whole-person care

By Stephanie Harris

Chief Executive Officer

Arrow Senior Living

The plan poses a threat, but doesn’t address the growing crisis of isolation among older adults. And once care needs exceed what home-based providers can deliver, seniors housing will have to contend with even heavier care needs of new residents. 

To respond, the seniors housing industry must promote the virtues of whole-person care, not just physical care. People are inherently social and need interaction that congregate settings can best offer. Federal policies will moderate over time based on the science of aging — people live longer, fuller lives with social engagement.


Seniors housing can capitalize

By Allison Rizer


ATI Advisory

First, the president acknowledges that home- and community-based care is infrastructure and that it needs investment. Second, although the president’s pledged funding is limited to Medicaid, it could provide long-term services and support to a greater number of individuals.

This creates an opportunity for seniors housing, which can be a home- and community-based setting under Medicaid rules. It also creates an opportunity for the industry to differentiate itself from nursing homes and to better integrate with health at home, primary care at home and other home-based care models.

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