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How Tech Is Transforming Senior Living (Part 2)

Over the past several months we have made a point to discuss how technology is impacting senior housing – presently and in the future. From the role of telehealth to how tech is transforming the industry, it seems there’s always something to talk about in this respect. Today we thought it was a good time to dive back into the subject and look at the next wave of tech in senior housing: robots. That’s right, robots are a hot topic right now in senior living, for many reasons. For one, as we continue to see advances in technology, the notion of robots integrating with our society is a reality. Many different industries are paying attention, as technology and robots, specifically, may start to replace humans.

So what does all this mean for senior housing? While the very thought of robots replacing skilled nursing caregivers seems farfetched, research indicates this may not be too far out there after-all. In fact, a new study shows that many Baby Boomers are actually receptive to receiving aid from a robot in place of a person. This may come as a surprise to some, but the current generation of older adults is much more open-minded than previous generations. Baby Boomers have seen enough change in their lifetime, and a robot as a caregiver is just the icing on the cake.

Will This Really Happen?

It is important for us not to get ahead of ourselves, as this idea of robots as caregivers is relatively new. While human caregivers can provide a personal touch that a machine simply cannot, there are a handful of benefits we see to this potential revolution. There is still a great deal of research that needs to be done in order for this to become a reality, but it’s important for us to keep an open mind and pay attention to how this may transform the industry – for both senior living residents and providers.

Another side to this is that robots may not entirely replace caregivers in senior housing, but simply offer much-needed assistance. It is no secret that the senior living industry has struggled over the years with the quality of care many facilities are able to provide, often because of lack of training or failure to find qualified workers. In this respect, we see robots as a good thing. If used properly, robots may be able to clean and perform other clinical tasks, assist with communication, and use technology to help caregivers provide a higher level of care to residents.

Are robots in our future? It’s hard to say, but it’s safe to say we wouldn’t be surprised. Be sure and check back in next week for the inside scoop on another trend hitting the senior living industry in a major way. If you have any questions about senior housing investments or would like to learn more about our opportunities, please don’t hesitate to contact Shep Roylance of The JCH Group.

Preparing for Natural Disasters in Senior Living

This year – especially the last couple weeks – have been particularly rough on the United States in regards to natural disasters. From Hurricane Harvey to the impending Hurricane Irma and the wildfires that have taken hold of Montana, California, Oregon, Washington, and much of the rest of the west, it leaves us all asking a lot of questions. While there are certain policies in place designed to step in when disaster strikes, history shows this isn’t always enough and thousands – if not millions – of people are left to pick up the pieces on their own. So what does this mean for senior living? For starters, it is imperative for senior living providers to have emergency plans in place in order to ensure crises like these are handled correctly.

Planning Ahead is a Must

The number one thing to keep in mind when it comes to preparing for a natural disaster in senior living is to plan ahead. Senior residents do not have the same mobility or thought patterns to move quickly and mentally prepare for disaster to strike. With this in mind, it is imperative that senior housing facilities have well-thought out and executed safety plans in place. Take Houston, for example. Over the last several years numerous senior housing providers have turned to Houston to establish assisted living and skilled nursing communities. In fact, the city is one of seven additional metro areas accounting for roughly a third of all senior housing inventory growth. We are unsure at this moment how these facilities will bounce back from Harvey, but one thing is for certain: you can never plan too much.

Training your staff, having adequate staff on call, and remaining in constant contact with emergency responders, internal staff, and residents are all imperative to how successfully you will ride out a natural disaster like a hurricane. It is also important for senior housing facilities to have a backup plan in place. Whether this means a different memory care facility in another part of town or a sister community elsewhere, having somewhere your residents can go to feel safe and protected in the wake of such events as we are experiencing right now is a must. We encourage all senior living providers to meet with their staff and community to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to emergency situations. We send our good thoughts to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey and the fires engulfing the west.

If you have questions about senior housing investment opportunities, please contact Shep Roylance of The JCH Group today.

Is Aging in Luxury the Next Big Trend

There are many changes coming to the senior housing industry, from more walkable quarters to communities that embrace technology. Another trend that we see creeping over the horizon is what many are calling “aging in luxury”. While many people view entering a senior living facility as an opportunity to downsize and get back to the basics, there is a whole other group of aging Americans that are taking a different approach. Developers across the country are catering to residents who are looking for high-end assisted living experiences, something that directly reflects our nation’s changing demographics.

Some of the first developments of this kind are popping up all over New York City, namely in Manhattan, with developers across the U.S. eyeing various locations that could also support high-end senior living communities. In Manhattan, developers have already spent hundreds of millions on high-end senior housing projects in the hopes that affluent and aging seniors in big cities will be drawn to this new concept. Experts predict that many Baby Boomers living in these areas would rather not leave their neighborhoods, as it could impact their cognitive abilities. With this in mind, senior housing developers are aiming to attract residents that are willing to pay to “age in luxury”.

What Are the Risks?

These new developments range anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000 per month in rent, a costly price that not many can afford. However, with the hefty price tags comes comfort, luxury, and all the amenities and space you could ever hope for. These units will undoubtedly boast uniformed doormen, beautifully landscaped gardens, and stunning architecture, but they will also offer special features that speak to the needs of seniors, such as brightly colored walls to support those with poor eyesight and lighting aimed to promote sleep.

Of course, the risk is that there won’t be enough residents interested – or able to afford – these luxury living apartments. In Manhattan, in particular, there are simply not enough memory care facilities to house senior adults with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. These new luxury assisted living facilities are opening at a time where the market is oversaturated and we are seeing more and more people need this level of care. People in big cities like New York and Los Angeles are accustomed to a certain quality of life, and the majority of senior living communities frankly cannot live up to their expectations. They are not willing to compromise, creating the need for high-end developments like these.

In the past senior housing has largely been suburban-focused, but as we recently discussed, more people are interested in facilities that are both walkable and modern. As of right now it is too early to predict how these luxury assisted living facilities will fare, but it’s safe to say there is a market for it and we may soon begin to see more costly communities pop up across cities in the U.S. For more information on the current state of senior housing or if you are considering investing in a skilled nursing facility, please do not hesitate to contact Shep Roylance of The JCH Group.

Senior Housing Brokers May Be Busy, Thanks to Investors

According to a survey by the National Real Estate Investor (NREI)/National investment for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) Seniors Housing Market, the remainder of 2017 is expected to be busy for senior housing brokers. The survey indicated that nearly half of the investors polled plan to invest in senior housing properties within the next 12 months. This is an increase of 9% from respondents who were polled on the same question this time last year. In addition, 11% of senior housing property owners plan to sell in the next year, while 42% say they will be holding on to their facilities.

One of the driving factors behind the responses from pollsters is the fact that many believe senior housing prices will drop. Throughout the last year, senior housing investments have remained steady and even dropped 1.5%  in the second quarter of the year. However, it is important to note that is still a 6% increase from where prices were at this time in 2016. Nonetheless, senior housing dealmakers are preparing for an influx of investors as more properties become available.

Why Now?

One of the main questions senior housing developers are asking regarding this change is, “why now?” For one, approximately 95% of all senior housing deals that closed in the second quarter of 2017 were for $50 million or less, which is a substantial number. In fact, there hasn’t been that margin of deals closed in that price range since 2010. This means that senior housing prices remain competitive as we continue to see more and more properties hit the market. This is presenting a unique opportunity for investors – one that we are going to keep our eye on. While prices remain steady and we are seeing interest among dealmakers and investors alike, it is important to pay attention to the trends. We are seeing bids from different sources than we have in the past – namely private equity and smaller private buyers.

So while public real estate investment trusts (REITs) may not be in the spotlight when it comes to senior housing investment, there is plenty of interest. If demand remains strong (as we predict it will) and investors have the capital, you can expect to see more senior housing facilities trade hands. To learn more about the current state of the senior living industry or if you are interested in investing in a senior housing property, please contact Shep Roylance of The JCH Group.