Question of the Month: Incoming Disruptions

What are some potential disruptive changes the seniors housing industry needs to stay ahead of?

Concentrate on whole-person wellness

By Robb Chapin

CEO, Seniors Housing and Medical Properties

Bridge Investment Group

The biggest differentiated value that seniors housing provides to its residents is socialization — more specifically, “whole-person wellness.” The dimensions include social wellness, but also incorporate emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual wellness.

Those in our industry that can effectively define and deliver whole-person wellness, in an intergenerational environment will be the biggest winners in how the sector evolves and becomes the societal standard for high-quality, experiential, age-in-place living. As an industry, if we put our focus around this core infrastructure, we will have a very bright and fulfilling future.


Keep ahead of tech advancement

By Dan Hermann

President, CEO


There are indeed a multitude of disruptors shaping seniors housing, but the one area that is clearly touching on all facets of the sector is technology. 

Technological innovations are providing solutions to many of today’s challenges (healthcare, workforce, etc.) and are also bringing forth tremendous advancements to elevate innovation in our field. We also need to remember that customer and workforce expectations continue to rise related to the technological savvy of our organizations. 

Technology growth will put pressure on our organizations, but demonstrate much excitement and promise as we navigate the complexities of our field.


Active adult is a game changer

By Aron Will

Vice Chairman, National Senior Housing

CBRE Capital Markets

There is a new, emerging asset class in our sector: Active Adult. Although it can be very synergistic with nearby higher acuity communities, effectively acting as a resident feeder base, it was really created to fill a void in the seniors housing spectrum and somewhat compete with independent living. 

Since the industry has shifted post-recession to a higher acuity model, the 70-something, lifestyle-oriented renter didn’t have many choices now that IL has shifted into “AL Lite.” The residents that are shopping active adult communities are on average in their ‘70s (not 55+ as the age restriction suggests), and also shopping IL communities (not market-rate apartments). It’s likely that five to seven years from now, active adult will be its own asset class in the seniors housing care spectrum.


Affordability problems on the horizon

By Dave Rothschild

Executive Managing Director

Cushman & Wakefield

Interest rates have been more than cooperative, but at some point rates will increase, affecting both debt and equity.

New construction has been a factor in many markets resulting in lower occupancy and concessions.

We must predict what the boomer generation will want and need in seniors housing, including utilizing and engaging technology.

Labor costs and shortages will continue to damper the industry, and it will become harder to find and keep good employees.

Lastly, a major issue I foresee is affordability. Providing shelter and care is going to put a great strain on our resources through Medicaid and Medicare. I believe it is also going to be a difficult task for operators to provide an affordable product while maintaining profitability.


Service, tech offerings will advance

By Kevin McMeen

President of Real Estate 

MidCap Financial Services

Disruptive changes to the seniors housing industry include initiatives to deliver healthcare and services that allow residents to remain in the home. These services and products could vary widely and include telemedicine, home healthcare, transport services like Uber and Grubhub, and “Alexa” devices for communication, monitoring and emergency response. 

Evolving services and technologies, when coupled with desirable housing that is not comprised entirely of seniors, reflecting a multigenerational community, present an attractive alternative to today’s seniors housing. Remaining in home, or in more desirable congregate housing (i.e. multifamily) allows seniors to live with greater independence and connection to their community.


Affordability will become a crisis

By Kathryn Burton Gray

Senior Managing Director, Seniors Housing & Healthcare

Hunt Real Estate Capital

Affordability is a major consideration since we are only serving the 1 percent of the population. This will be a crisis sooner than later, since the baby boomers’ savings rate have been quoted at negative 4 percent. They are living day to day.

Millennials are not buying houses and not creating wealth from housing equity. Therefore, we will have to address how we serve the growing number of seniors who have no solution for housing and medical care in an aging environment. 

The oldest baby boomers are turning 75 in 2020, and the wave is just starting. Only a quarter of those potential residents will be able to afford the seniors housing products currently offered.