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Senior Housing > Blog > 2014 > December

Memory Care Demand Exceeds Supply & Shapes Future of Healthcare Industry

SENIOR LIVING PROVIDERS anticipate increased return on investment as a result of a favorable demographic environment. It’s just basic Business Cycle 101”.   With the growing baby boomer population there will not be enough senior housing for the demand of retired boomers.  Memory care communities are specifically in demand.

It is reported that every 68 seconds, an American develops Alzheimer’s disease.  By 2050 Americans will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds.  The disease, which has no cure, no prevention and no proven way to slow its progression affects 5 million Americans today. It is expected to nearly triple by 2050 as baby boomers age. The nation’s 65+demographic, which currently accounts for 13% of the overall population, is expected to more than double by 2050 to more than 89 million  (20% of the population) according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

To support the need for memory care facilities, many assisted living communities are adding memory care to their services, and developers and architects are including specific design to accommodate the growing demand.  Memory care is very different from Assisted Living care and requires a unique structural design to support optimal living conditions for those who suffer from dementia. It also can effect financing and loan terms. However difficult, the need must be met and the return on investment encourages Healthcare investors to venture into the market.

Brookdale, one of the nation’s largest senior-living operators, has 647 communities in 36 states.  12% of the company’s residents (5771 seniors) are enrolled in Brookdales’s Clare Bridge memory care program at 86 facilities.  Smaller assisted living facilities are also devoting the much needed care and space to Alzheimer residents.  Maristone Living with two locations in the Nashville area, reports that Alzheimer is a growth unit for the company.  About 25% of rooms at Maristone are devoted to memory care residents.

As memory care providers compete to meet the needs of this growing segment of Americans with dementia many are turning to innovative solutions that revolve around engaging the senses.  The emergence of Snoezelen Therapy on the memory care scene is growing.  The therapy requires a controlled multisensory environment which allows memory care residents to guide their own therapy.  The purpose of a sensory room is to excite the five senses and re-engage residents with their environment.  Silverado Senior Living, a memory care provider in 8 states has shown the therapy to be successful.  Vice President of Silverado reports that incorporating the senses is the best means to communicate with memory-care residents.

So once again we see progress being made and the HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY IS ALIVE AND WELL.  The demand driven providers adjust to the demand and make giant steps in quantity and quality of service.