Naples consistently appears on best-places-to-live and best-places-to-retire lists, and for good reason. It’s a sunny Florida city that’s thriving, and one of the fastest-growing metro areas according to the U.S. Census.[i] Naples boasts an enviable lifestyle, with world-class beaches and a famously happy population—coming in first place on the Gallup Well-Being Index.[ii] Naples is also one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation. In the past ten years, the annual real estate appreciation rate has amounted to 6.45%, according to NeighborhoodScout. This puts Naples in the top 10% nationally for real estate appreciation.[iii] Mashadvisor ranks Naples as the second-best market in the U.S.—and the best Florida market—for multifamily investment in 2021.[iv]

 

The #1 Destination for Retirees

According to SmartAsset list of best places to retire, Naples is ranked #1, based on factors that include tax burden, access to top-ranked health care, and the prevalence of retirement communities, recreation, and other seniors. Naples is such a popular retirement community that fully half of its population are seniors.[v] Naples is also top ranked on the Niche list of Best Places to Retire in Collier County, which calculates the number of newcomer retirees that moved into the area in the past year, the average sunny days per year, cost of living, crime and safety grade, plus access to restaurants, healthcare, golf courses, libraries and recreational activities.[vi]

 

Business-friendly and Diverse Economy

Naples is in Collier County, which has one of the lowest property tax rates in the state and, on a per capita basis, is home to more Fortune 500 CEOs with successful business experience than any other community in the nation.[vii] Forbes has listed Naples as one of the best places for business and careers.[viii] The county’s population is 386,161, and it’s expected to grow by 7.1% by 2024.[ix]

With an ever-expanding range of professional sectors, Collier County is continually redefining itself. Real estate and tourism are the largest industry clusters, and the region’s targeted industries are helping to diversify the region’s economy. These include clean energy, manufacturing, life sciences, defense, aviation & aerospace, information technology and financial services.[x]

 

Corporate Headquarters Fuel Employment Growth

NCH Healthcare System, a world-class leader in healthcare, has over 7,000 employees and is headquartered in Naples, as is Arthex, a global medical device company, with over 2,500 employees.[xi] There is more commercial development in the works, including an inpatient hospital by Encompass Health, an Amazon last-mile distribution center, and a multimillion-dollar logistics, distribution and warehouse center by Uline.[xii]

 

Naples Multifamily Market Remains Strong

Despite COVID-19’s impact on Southwest Florida’s economy, there are bright signs in the multifamily market for Naples and Collier County. Collier County has 2,119 new units under construction; multifamily fourth-quarter sales are up over the past quarter; and unemployment in the region has decreased to 6.7%, down from 9.7% the prior quarter. [xiii] Large apartment complexes or high-rise apartments are the single most common housing type in Naples, and 40% of the households in Naples, FL are renter-occupied.[xiv] According to RentCafé, the average rent for an apartment in Naples is $1,549, a 3% increase over the previous year, when the average rent was $1,505.[xv] Compared to other markets throughout Florida, Naples was one of only three metro areas to post a year-over-year increase in rents.

 

The Opportunity

Lloyd Jones, LLC has extensive experience as an investor, owner, and manager in the Florida multifamily and senior housing markets. We have worked with investors to find the right multifamily and senior living assets that generate the best possible returns for the past four decades, through numerous economic cycles. If you are looking to capitalize on multifamily opportunities in the Naples market, please let us know. To learn more, visit https://www.lloydjonesllc.com/

 

 

[i]     https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/newsroom/releases/2015/cb15-56_graphic.pdf

[ii]    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/naples-florida-americas-happiest-city-third-year-row-180968474/

[iii]   https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/fl/naples/real-estate

[iv]   https://www.mashvisor.com/blog/best-multifamily-markets-2021/#more-141108

[v]    https://smartasset.com/retirement/where-to-retire

[vi]   https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/search/best-places-to-retire/c/collier-county-fl/

[vii]  https://www.collieredo.org/living-here

[viii] https://www.forbes.com/places/fl/naples/?sh=62ac47031aff

[ix]   https://www.collieredo.org/demographics

[x]    https://www.collieredo.org/industries

[xi]   https://www.swfleda.com/profiles-and-maps/#jtabs-2

[xii]  https://www.naplesnews.com/story/money/business/local/2020/08/12/collier-county-sees-major-investments-growth-and-development-continues-full-force/3351643001/

[xiii] https://lee-fl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/SW_FL_Multifamily_Report-Q3_2020.pdf

[xiv] https://www.noradarealestate.com/blog/naples-real-estate-market/

[xv]  https://www.rentcafe.com/average-rent-market-trends/us/fl/naples/

Description- New senior housing supply has resulted in increased competition, suppressed occupancy, lower lease-up velocity, and increased concessions. Now is the time to analyze the changing financial and psychographic demographics of your future new residents. Senior Housing Unfiltered analyzes these trends with Melissa Banko of Banko Designs as we discuss market-appropriate unit sizes, configurations, new amenity trends, the appropriate rent levels necessary for successful lease-up and tenant retention. We invite you to listen and become a catalyst for change.

Tod Petty:
Hi, this is Tod Petty with Senior Housing Unfiltered. Welcome to the program today, which is Episode Three: The Design Charrette, envisioning new senior living. Today, there’s three goals that we want to achieve as we discuss with Melissa Banko. One, hesitation will never get you the answer you want. Number two, action will give you more discoveries than hesitation, and start moving, action will come to you. You’ve got to get moving. Ladies and gentlemen and friends from around senior housing globe, we’re so grateful to Melissa Banko. She’s taking the time to pour into us her visionary design for the new housing product ready to be discovered. It’s my privilege, Melissa, to introduce to you our mentor and friend Melissa Banko, with Banko Design.

Melissa Banko:
Hello, hello, thank you, Tod, and members of our beloved Senior Housing Unfiltered podcast, I am honored that you would set time apart to hang out with me on this program and be with me to learn a little bit more about what Banko is doing as we work together to better this industry and prepare for changes coming to senior housing in 2020.

Tod Petty:
Thank you, Melissa. Melissa and I are broadcasting from The Future Site at Banko Design, somewhere in Atlanta.

Melissa Banko:
Somewhere.

Tod Petty:
So, we were blindfolded and escorted to the undisclosed location, because apparently, it’s secret knowledge, which will soon be revealed by Melissa at the appropriate time. She said I cannot do it yet.

Melissa Banko:
Yes. We’ve leaked a little bit, but we’re super excited about a new space for the studio and the warehouse of Banko Design, not too far from where we are now, but we’ve been really blessed this year to continue to grow, and that meant outgrowing our current space.

Tod Petty:
How could you be expanding? You’ve got all this office space you’re going to be moving into. We were met by all your team when we walked in. I mean, it’s busy. It’s like two days before Thanksgiving. What is going on here?

Melissa Banko:
Listen, what sets Banko apart is definitely this team. We have had a busy year despite the craziness of COVID and what the world’s been dealing with in 2020. We’ve stayed really true to our roots here this year and continued to grind down, chase work and just pump out really good work with our really awesome clients, and we’ve seen an influx of clients, we’ve seen an influx of talent. We’ve scooped up talent from other verticals that haven’t been as busy this year, which has been a huge blessing.

Tod Petty:
Great. We’re going to be talking in a moment about becoming a person of action in response to changes that are occurring in our industry. So, we have an incredible vital lesson for all of us. Action is where transformation really happens in your life and my life. So, stay with us. You are our friends and we’ll prepare you for what is going to happen in 2021. Our goal is to bring some value to you in exchange for your time today, and we appreciate you joining us on this podcast. We’re proud of our team members who are making this podcast possible. We have minced ourselves in the fourth quarter at Lloyd Jones with the future of senior housing. One of the most important leadership lessons to understand is we do what we need to do, not what we necessarily want to do.

Tod Petty:
I mean, there’s things I don’t want to do every day, but I know I need to do them. In the midst of an unpredictable pandemic, regardless of how negative it can be at times, we must keep doing what we need to do to prepare for the future, regardless of how we feel, because the future is coming, it’s going to be different and we must prepare for it. So, we’re going to share this lesson with you. I hope we do a good job. We normally do a good job at communicating. We’re going to give it our best shot. Let’s go forward. Our podcast is titled, The Design Charrette: Envisioning New Senior Living with Melissa Banko.

Melissa, you know what that is?

Melissa Banko:
I do. I do. What the audience doesn’t realize is we’re actually going to sing for an entire hour.

Tod Petty:
Yes. That’s-

Melissa Banko:
That’s you, actually. Isn’t that right?

Tod Petty:
I’m a humble man, so I can’t play anymore. We’ll tune into Melissa’s website and you can figure out what that was about.

Melissa Banko:
Yeah. Tune into the telethon next year.

Tod Petty:
The telethon.

Melissa Banko:
And we’ll send a link to our debut as a singing duo, our first.

Tod Petty:
Our first hit record. It’s going to be great.

Melissa Banko:
Yeah.

Tod Petty:
Colonel Joshua Chamberlain has a great code I want to give you. He said, “My future is immediate. I will grasp it with both hands and carry it with running feet.” That is a very important statement. Let me read it again. “The future is immediate, is now, I will grasp it with both hands and I’ll carry it with my running feet. When I’m faced with the choice of doing nothing or doing something, I will always choose to act.” Wow, I love that fact. When I’m really faced with the choice of doing nothing or doing something, we always must do something. The bottom line thesis is this. If you do not have all the answers, move anyway. How many times do we hesitate because we do not have the answers? Action, we have to take action. There’s no traction without action, and action is a part of traction. And Melissa’s going to tell us today how they’ve taken action to prepare for the future. Melissa Banko, welcome.

Melissa, you’ve been preparing for 2021 this entire year. Every time we’ve measured, you are doing something, you’re creating something, you’re getting ready. I’m watching the design, the product change before my eyes, and you’re ready. You’re active. Share with us a little bit about what you’re doing. What are you getting ready for? I want to know, secret knowledge.

Melissa Banko:
I agree with all of what you’re saying and that there’s goodness in action. Even after this year, we had projects going hold. We had projects that needed to be pushed off because they were renovation work. 2020 was a year where we were thrown things that we didn’t anticipate, but we kept moving. We grinded down as a team. We had hard conversations about how to do that. We were strategic. We knew that we wanted to continue to stay in the verticals that we were, and we wanted to continue to stay successful in those verticals, and we put a plan in motion. We took on an amazing studio in Minnesota so that we could expand our services within senior living. That team has been a wonderful asset to us in taking on more skilled nursing so that we have skilled nursing all the way up through luxury product. We’ve expanded staff. We’ve continued to work with clients and push projects along. So, we’ve been busy. We’ve been busy.

Tod Petty:
Excellent. Excellent. We’re going to find out today how you’ve been preparing to meet this new product change, this new shift that’s taken place. What does senior housing look like in 2021? What does new product look like? What’s the product for the middle market? What are we seeing before our eyes? We look forward to speaking with you about that today.

Melissa Banko:
There is a misperception maybe about what an interior designer in general does. Yes, we get to play with all the pretty things, beautiful finishes and specifying lighting, and we get to draw all day and just roll around in paint chips. But the reality is, yes, that is an amazing part of what we do. But our value add is really in the programming and the space planning and the understanding what a building really needs. So, in reacting to what you’re saying about expectations of who we’re designing for, not all buildings are meant to be equal, and you have to have an understanding on the front end about who your target demographic is, and who you are designing those buildings for.

Tod Petty:
You’re saying, Melissa, are you saying that buildings were designed without the end user in mind?

Melissa Banko:
I am saying that there has been a boom in our industry before the baby boom ever got to it. Yes, the baby boom generation is going to ask for different things, but again, we can’t lump that generation. We can’t lump all seniors into the same category. They have different needs.

Tod Petty:
All baby boomers were not created equal.

Melissa Banko:
Created equal. They need different things. The care level within this age bracket that we’re designing for, they need different things, they need different levels of care. We can’t just assume that all of these buildings can have the same things and work for everyone. The other reality is you do have to peel back the financial part of it, and you need to bring in your consultants to peel that back with you so that we are planning and designing an appropriate building, not only based on what your residents need, but where you need to fall in the market. Listen, we have designed a lot of really great buildings that are all over the spectrum as far as, again, level of care where they fall in resident fee, and what the financial play is there. Yes, there is a smaller portion that are asking for this luxury product.

Melissa Banko:
So, we are having lots of conversations in the industry, is how do we serve the rest of that demographic? How do we design really great buildings that make sense from a performer level, but are also giving the care that is absolutely needed in these buildings. There has been this shift to almost out of design each other, who can make it bigger, or who can make it better, or who can make it higher end. We want to be strategic about who we’re working with, because at the core, it needs to be about the care. It needs to be about the service that is within these buildings long after we exit. Again, there’s a value play with a designer who understands the senior living space so that we can help you map out programmatically what the space needs to do so that it can support the staff that is there to take care of the residents.

Tod Petty:
Yeah, that’s a great point, because we’re seeing right now very beautiful communities that are stalled in lease up, and the price point is so high that people are not willing to pay the price for the extra amenities.

Melissa Banko:
Right. We are not saying, by any means, that you can’t have really great design and care in the same model. Banko has built a business on it. We can have good looking buildings that fit and check all the boxes, but also support the care side. There’s a way to do both. You can have really great design at any budget. We can have different rates and different room sizes and different levels of care, and you can still have really lovely, coordinated design as a whole that also support the program. We begged profusely to bring in ops early, bring me the ops team, let me dissect what it is that they need because every ops group is also different. We are a consultant that is brought on to support that. Again, there isn’t this secret formula that a great interior designer in the senior living space just pulls out every single project and just starts going through the manual.

You have to really dive in, you have to listen to what your operations team needs. You have to listen to what their expectations are, who they want to attract, and you are responsible, as a designer, to support that, to design around what that operations team, what that development team really needs. Because again, anybody can come in and slap up tile and hang lights. It’s all of the little things that go behind those specifications that make a building successful, and it’s a lot less about what you’re looking at when you’re looking at Instagram photos, which listen, we love that because we do that really well. But again, there’s a support on the backend, because again, we exit. We turn over a building, and we want to come back a year later, two years later, three years later and hear that we have been able to serve seniors here. It’s been really successful. The buildings have wrapped our residents, and it feels like home.

That’s definitely part of why we design in this space.

Tod Petty:
Maybe we should pivot on that and talk about what is needed to be known about older adults in the variety of groups they are. Anywhere from, we talk about 55+ all the way up to skilled nursing, but 55 to 85, and what their special needs are, because to your point, not only in design, but we see operationally people have entered the space, particularly younger people that are very smart people. Quite frankly, I think this is pretty simple and this is going to be a cake walk. Now they’re dealing with management of older adults and their needs in that, and they fail. They’re failing, and companies built upon even purely 100% service delivery of hospitality services, when they, not emphasizing health care, they’re struggling as well. Let’s maybe talk a little bit about how design plays into that, of the servicing of an older adult.

Melissa Banko:
Yeah. Again, I think it’s the mashup and how you perfectly blend the health care need, the care need to really great design so that our residents do feel comfortable. They don’t feel like they’re in an institution. They don’t feel like this is where they’ve “had to go.” They don’t feel like they’re old. They want to feel vibrant, they want to feel like they still have purpose, they want to feel like where they are living and where they are, somewhere that folks want to come and visit. Again, there’s a way to do that. Can we make sure that meds are given on time and are easily accessible, but also locked up in safe when they need to be? Do I have access to snacks and meals and all of the great F&D things when I want it to, like I would at my home? How do we monitor that?

Do I have someone who is going to love me, lay hands on me and make me feel loved throughout the day? Again, you didn’t hear anything about lighting, or color, palette, or any of that. Now there’s a way that we building can support that. Again, it’s layout, it’s understanding how an operations team staffs a building and what that looks like. Are we taking care of our staff with space planning so they have the spaces that they need to be successful? Then there are of course design driven things. Are we making sure that the lighting that we are designing highlights our design and all of the prettiness, but is it also the correct light level for our seniors? Is it the correct light level for our staff? Sometimes that’s different. Are we taking appropriate finishes so that we can make sure that we are providing slip resistant finishes?

Are we providing materials that can easily be cleanable and wipeable and sanitized, and over time, it’s not going to look like they were cleaned and sanitized and wiped down a million times. Banko Design’s very “resimercially”, and that word comes up a lot with us, and I feel like we should coin it. We feel like we want to make sure that these communities do feel like home. It’s a residence. Residents live here. So, how do we provide the residential allure with the commercial needs? And again, supporting the care component.

Tod Petty:
Tell me what happens in the process, because I’ve noticed, if you can go out to Texas where there’s a very strong life safety component to bring these buildings out of the ground, and you don’t have an option on light levels. I mean, light levels are being measured in every area of the building and it’s a minimum requirement. So, there’s really a lot of adequate lighting in most Texas buildings. Then you can come out through the Georgia side and you go into buildings and you’re wondering where the lights went. Obviously, someone is designing the building to minimum, a minimum standard that doesn’t require all those lights, but in Texas, they are upping their game because they have a higher minimum to achieve.

But both communities come out and both are functioning. What happens in the disconnect there? Is that because architects are trained to meet the minimum standard from a cost savings standpoint? Which requires a design firm such as yours to come in and say, hey, we have to up our lights, even though the minimum is X, because we have seniors that can’t see, we have memory care residents that can’t see three feet in front of them, and they mistakenly see things for what they’re not and can get confused and exacerbate their emotions. Is that something you regularly had input in?

Melissa Banko:
Absolutely.

Tod Petty:
Are you successful when you have that input?

Melissa Banko:
I think so. It’s a team effort. You’ve got a whole team of consultants that are working on these buildings. We love that collaboration with architecture and MEP, and structural and landscape and all the wonderful consultants that it takes to create a holistic community. So, absolutely your interior designer is going to weigh in on what those light levels … what a jurisdiction is telling you that you have to have for code compliancy might be different from what your interior designer and your architect are telling you is right and good for your vertical. Our light levels and our light color temperature does look different in the senior living vertical than it does when we’re designing traditional multifamily or hospitality.

Again, it’s not just about light level, it’s also about color temperature and how that affects our seniors, and the way that they see things that is different from how a 20 something or a 30 something is seeing things. That does play into a lot of the other things we do with color palette and variation in tone and contrast and all of those things. I could talk all day about materials and what that looks like and how we’re weighing in on all of those things, flooring, transitions, and slip resistancy, and anti-microbial materials, and what cabinet heights are the best. All of those things are the little things, again, that one probably doesn’t notice, but you do notice when you’re comfortable. You do notice when it feels right.

Tod Petty:
So, you’re not consciously aware of it, but subconsciously something is registering.

Melissa Banko:
That’s what we hope our users are saying. Maybe I don’t know why it feels, but you know when you’re attracted to something because it’s good looking, because it’s aesthetically pleasing to you.

Tod Petty:
It feels good.

Melissa Banko:
But when the design is right, all those heights are right, and the way you’re interacting with a space, when that feels right, we don’t want you to necessarily notice that it’s designed well. Those are the little again, nuances and the tricks of the trade with the experience that you’ve learned being in a certain market. That’s, again, what we bring to the table.

Tod Petty:
That’s really interesting. I remember my mom, I helped her last year into assisted living after my father passed away. I took her to a resort building thinking that she’d like it. She went in, it was a grand hall, and she went in and had the bistro, and it was very beautiful building. It looked very much like a Ritz-Carlton. I’m thinking of the one at Lake Oconee over in Greensboro. She went in there and she said, “Tod, I don’t want this. I don’t want to spend your inheritance on this.”

Melissa Banko:
Did she know why she didn’t want to be there? It didn’t feel right?

Tod Petty:
Yeah, didn’t feel right. She said, “I don’t like this. I don’t want to spend the money.” I said, “Mom, it’s the same amount of money as the one we saw earlier.” I’ll talk about that in a minute. She said, “I don’t feel good with this. I’m not comfortable with this.”

Melissa Banko:
But doesn’t that prove the point that not all buildings are going to check all the boxes for every single resident?

Tod Petty:
Absolutely. That’s what she-

Melissa Banko:
That’s okay. We have buildings that are going to feel right to some and not to others, but the ethos behind what we’re doing has to be right and good.

Tod Petty:
Right. She said, this is a young person community. It wasn’t assisted living. So, she chose a smaller community, small footprint, very home-like. She said, that’s where I coined the term, she said, “Tod, this feels like it wraps its arms around me and makes me feel very comfortable.” Paying the same amount of money in a different place without the grandiose. I see a lot of people share that. That’s registering with either that demographic group from a different time, or it’s resonating with someone that’s older, that it’s no longer a priority.

Melissa Banko:
Okay. But take the age out of it. Scale is a big part of what a designer does and plans out. Regardless of whether you’re 30 or you’re 80, scale still applies. Just because you’ve got 30 foot ceilings doesn’t mean it’s right and good. Just because the grand hall is bigger than the one down the street… it does not make it right and good. You do want, again, regardless of age scale. It needs to be planned appropriately. Again, that’s one of those things that maybe folks don’t think, oh, a designer is breaking that down. Yes, we’re absolutely doing that. We’re dressing a building appropriately and we’re also breaking downscale so that it does feel comfortable when you’re in it, and that was pre-COVID. Everything could be open. Again, depending on your residence and depending on what you want to bring to market, that’s also going to play into what at a developer or an ops team or ownership team tells us that their wish list is of what they want to bring to the market and who they see their target and demographic being.

Tod Petty:
That brings up another question I just thought about. Do you have conversations about the staffing of a building?

Melissa Banko:
Yes.

Tod Petty:
Because one of the things that, again, that we’re seeing as occupancy is suppressed. We’ve lost 20%, pretty much in an AL memory care over the last six months through attrition with the inability to move anybody in. So, revenues drop, lease up was stalled. We’re 10% below occupancy stabilization.

Melissa Banko:
CapEx couldn’t be spent, renovations couldn’t be done.

Tod Petty:
Right. The greatest need was staffing, to take care of the residents, but because of the cost associated with the building, the demand from investors, not, I don’t know all of them, but generally speaking, was to cut costs, and the single most costly line item is labor. That’s where the cost was cut in order to support a building that was highly, I don’t even want to use the word amenitized, but it was highly designed for a wow factor.

Melissa Banko:
Well, and to be full.

Tod Petty:
And to be full, but if the staffing doesn’t support the levels of care that the resident needs, you’re not going to keep people in the building. Actually, we’re seeing that people come in, they walk by the building, they love the building, they stay. The care doesn’t match the building. The care is lacking. There’s not enough staff take care of the residents. They exit, they move out, and they go down the road. Having experienced that and say, it was great place. I was attracted to it. It was great, but I didn’t receive the care that I needed.

Melissa Banko:
Sure. I get that. Speaking to staff with any business infrastructure, time is money, right? It’s the same here at being a service driven company. Time is money, and you want to talk about efficiency and you want to make sure that what you’re planning makes sense from a staffing perspective. That’s what I’m talking about when I’m talking about programming and space planning. So, here’s where we serve meals. Okay, let’s talk about what that travel path is and how we’re getting food to dining room A, and then to dining room B and to dining room and C, and let’s talk about, when we do need to give meds, what does that look like? So, I’ve got care stations, and are they in the right location? Tell me how many staff members we have. Doing that, what does that look like?

Let’s talk about reception and then admin suite and where those people need to be, so that they are placed in the building where it makes sense. We’ve got activity directors, and we’ve got all sorts of additional care staff. You’ve got laundry. That’s a whole other, maybe not sexy part of the design process. You’re talking about, what does that look like? Are we taking laundry from rooms? Are we bringing that to master laundry space, or is there a laundry in the rooms? Mail, what does mail look like? Do we have mail being brought to a central location and we have a staff member that’s handing that out? Is there a parcel area? Is there a place … So, you have to talk about those day to day activities, and what’s going to happen inside the building day to day so that we can help you plan to be efficient because then you could get away with, I don’t know how to say that better, with a slimmer staff, so that what they’re doing day to day is efficient.

Tod Petty:
An efficient staff.

Melissa Banko:
Then also, let’s talk about longevity of keeping that staff. So, you have staff in there and they learn the process, and here’s what the day-to-day looks like. Are we taking care of our staff members? Do they have a space where they can go and they can chart, or they can complete their daily activities that maybe aren’t resident facing? Are we giving them the flexibility with office space? Are we giving them the flexibility with that downtime again, with where it’s not a resident facing? Because if we don’t take care of the staff, the staff doesn’t take care of the resident. So, we’re designing buildings, obviously for our residents first and foremost, but we’re also designing buildings for the staff that’s going to be in them.

Tod Petty:
When you’re speaking, Melissa, this is interesting, when you’re speaking with new people to the industry, there are some of these sacred cows that have been around for 20 years, that I think people think are brilliant because it saves money, and people are attracted to saving money. I think of some of these sacred cows, one is, well, we really don’t need a break space for the employees because they need to be working with the residents. So, when they take their break, they can take it with them in the dining room.

Melissa Banko:
Sure, but you know what’s more expensive though? Turnover.

Tod Petty:
Well, not only turnover, but a DOL (Department of Labor) audit the finds that you didn’t give them space that hour that you deducted their pay, and therefore you owe them the money for the last one year, plus all the employees. That’s a regulation that needs to be factored in. Turnover is significant because residents in the building like consistency. When there’s constant turnover, their emotions become exacerbated and stressed.

Melissa Banko:
Right. You and I, we sort of just talking back and forth and sort of talking about this topic today, and really two things came to mind for us, and that was that you and I were of like-mind about things that maybe were working in the industry and things we’d like to see improve in the industry. I get asked all the time, why do you want to be in the senior living space? Why do you enjoy designing in that vertical so much? I’ve said, and we’re starting to see that turn a little bit, but we as a company saw an opportunity again, to provide really great design, but also help operations group and development groups to plan a little bit more on the front end, so that, not only their buildings can be efficient in the long-run, but also the process to get that design is more efficient, over-communicating on the front end about what that design process looks like, talking about budgets upfront, having really candid conversations about who we’re designing for, and really doing some strategic planning on the front end, which we have found makes better buildings in the long-run.

Melissa Banko:
We enjoy it because I think that, in having those conversations, we’re building better buildings, but also, being able to take the pretty side of it and applying it on top of that. Because again, it goes back to that mashup, you can have both. You can have a really well-planned out building that’s taking care of the residents that it needs to take care of, but it can also feel really pretty, and it can feel nice to be in, and there’s a way to do that.

Tod Petty:
Yeah, no doubt. I think, when you have operations involved in the very beginning, even if the operational desires do not prevail, at least everyone at the table understands what we’re giving up. If the code doesn’t include maybe a clean and dirty, or a clean and soiled utility area, and we’re just going to have one area where we’re going to have it mixed, and operations is saying we really need separate spaces for infection control, or for ease of labor. And we said, we just don’t have the room. We’re not going to do it, we’re all going to combine it. Then we all can say, okay, but we all understand, once we’re open the challenges this is going to bring to the operation side. If we all say yes, amen, we all agree the challenge it’s going to make and we all have buy-in, versus making that decision without operations, then you hand the building over to them.

Tod Petty:
Everybody leaves, the GC leaves, the developers are just like checking in once a month, and our operation is trying to deliver what the client is really paying for, which is service and care in the building that will not necessarily promote it, and there’s a lot of stress.

Melissa Banko:
Right, and then you’ve got moving around of spaces or trying to make spaces work that were designed for another purpose, and that doesn’t make sense, and it certainly doesn’t show well. So, it’s trying to mitigate that on the front end.

Tod Petty:
You’ve seen operational groups go crazy, I believe when they start to move spaces around what they think is good.

Melissa Banko:
Oh, makes us go crazy.

Tod Petty:
I really love it too, when they’re just kind of let go and like, hey, we’re going to remodel this room, so you guys go out and find a contractor and put whatever you want in it.

Melissa Banko:
Right. Well, I think that what successful groups have figured out is that there has to be a level of flexibility. If we didn’t learn all that as a whole in 2020, as you have to pivot and you have to be flexible, no one is saying that the new model is to strip out all the amenities. We want those amenities to be there if it makes sense for the demographic that we’re targeting for that certain buildings. No one’s saying, I’m not saying strip them out. I’m saying, be smart about it and hire an interior designer that can walk you through how to do that. We’ve referenced, the bistro has become a joke, I feel like in our space is like, everyone’s got the bistro, everyone’s got the movie theater, everyone’s got the arts and crafts room.

Melissa Banko:
To some degree, you do want to have those spaces programmatically, but can we design spaces that are a little flexible so that you’re not maybe taking on more square footage. You’ve got spaces that are going to turn over. I think that this year specifically has taught us that, that will be essential, and the grandiose spaces that we were designing in ’19 and ’18 probably will be relooked at. Again, why is a resident going to come to a community? They’re going to come to a community because they are getting something from the community that they can not get at home. If we provide a space that feels comfortable, it feels “resimercial”, the arms have been wrapped around, how do we make sure that again, we’re providing things that they need? It’s that care component, it’s the purpose, it’s engagement, it’s socialization, and we can provide all those things through really great amenities, but let’s be strategic about it.

Melissa Banko:
Let’s make sure that as a whole, the project makes sense. I’m not again, not talking just about the care or the design part, but financially. If you have a good interior designer who’s going to have those tough conversations with you about how to spend the money right, let’s have that conversation.

Tod Petty:
Well, if you can reduce your square footage and that results in a drop in the residents’ rent, that’s going to be very important moving forward.

Melissa Banko:
That’s designing to the middle market, which there is a void in the market, is designing for the middle market. So, how do we do that? Again, that’s not like, hey, listen, you’re a middle market. You don’t get the bistro, you don’t get the theater. That’s not what anybody’s saying. We’re saying let’s be smart about how to plan it right so it makes sense for that project type.

Tod Petty:
Right. Well, so I kind of look at what Hyatt Place has done. It may be a good example of where we’re going. Because if you go stay at a Hyatt Place, you walk into the front, then you’re greeted by the concierge, by the desk manager, and you check in. By the way, right next to it, you want a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and you go sit down and then she moves over there and serves you your glass of wine, and you can have your pizza. Then, oh, well, I needed a ride to the airport. One of the desk parts jumps in the van, they take you to the airport. It’s all centrally located. You have this nice space where people are all around and you’re not having to go down to the right to the restaurant and then further down to the right to the bistro, and further down to the right to the business center. It’s all conserving space, bringing people together and having still a good deliverable.

Melissa Banko:
Right. Banko, as a firm, we are in three verticals. So, senior living, traditional multifamily, and hospitality, and there is some beauty in being in all three of those, because we can take lessons learned from those other project types and integrate them into what we’re doing in senior living. Because again, even across the board with those… good design is good design. Now, you need someone who’s going to really coach you through the senior space, because there are nuances of that. But yes, you’re talking about a hospitality model, and the hospitality model is centralized amenities for efficiency, and what we just talked about, which is staffing. The other great thing about that hospitality model is that I don’t have seniors that are schlepping to lots of other areas of the building.

So, it’s also breaking down how they use that building, what their track is and folding that into how staff is tracking too. I agree with you. There’s flexibility in those spaces. You still have all of those amenities, you still have all of that service. It’s planned out so that there’s some flexibility.

Tod Petty:
It’s almost a dichotomy. You have to create, we’re talking about two different tracks that have to be blended into one building. So, we’re talking about potentially rooms changing to be comfortable for the resident. One bedrooms, maybe washers and dryers come into the room, maybe kitchen that’s come into the room, which we’re seeing kitchenettes going into hotels, extended stays at about $2,500 a room and being repositioned as multifamily. But you bring those in so that you can quarantine if you need to. That’s important. But at the same time, we know from the pandemic, we’re dealing with a lot of depression, we’re dealing with a lot of disconnect, and it should be no surprise, if you read the book Live Long, Die Short, which is a great book, it talks about the number one contribution to death is lack of connection.

Melissa Banko:
Absolutely.

Tod Petty:
Once there’s a lack of connection, there’s a lack of socialization, there’s lack of purpose and relevancy. There’s just nothing to live for. It doesn’t matter how pure your water is, it doesn’t matter how clean the air is. It doesn’t even matter if you’re hydrated and your medicines are being taken. You have no connection, you really lack of purpose. So, we can’t just assume we can minimize the common area spaces, quarantine, and keep people safe and that we’re going to have a good outcome. We have to blend the two together.

Melissa Banko:
Absolutely. We’ve gotten that call from a lot of our owners and operators, is okay, so we need to break down these large rooms, right? It’s like, yes, and there is a way to do that without completely redesigning your building. Let’s look at a safe way to socialize so that we don’t say to our seniors, okay, crazy virus going around and so everyone stay in your room until further notice, because it is. It’s taking a toll on our seniors. I’m not even referencing the virus. How can we make sure that they still are getting the love and care and attention that they need, which again, defaults back to why we’re in healthcare. It’s a healthcare model. We want to make sure that they are taken care of and they have all the things that they need, but we can’t just put them in rooms and assume that they’re going to be fine.

Tod Petty:
Right, and pat ourselves on the back and say-

Melissa Banko:
We kept them safe.

Tod Petty:
What an awesome job we’ve done. Then, if we do a great job, no one has COVID-19.

Melissa Banko:
But doesn’t that go back into the whole planning? Maybe we’re not eating in the dining room all at the same time, it’s staged dining. How is the building going to support that? How’s the staff going to support that. Maybe it’s not movie time all at the same time, maybe we’ve got groups that sign up and you’ve got a couple in there at a safe distance. I think, again, there’s a way to do it, there’s a way to pivot, there’s a way to have those conversations, but we want to make sure that our seniors are still getting to see other seniors. We want them to see their families. We want them to interact with staff. We want our staff to be safe.

Tod Petty:
Well, a reduction in the building footprint with amenities being consolidated, but still given, but the space lesson, that will create less debt service as a cost of sales, and with less debt service, and that was dollars freed up, you can actually add staff to really deliver the care you need to deliver. I think people would be willing to pay the same rents they’re paying, but maybe in a smaller venue with good technology and good amenities, rather than a place that’s very grandiose, that’s costing a lot of money on rent and maybe a reduction in the care delivery because of that.

Melissa Banko:
Right. I get that. We get asked all the time, especially in this last year of sort of, what does that look like if new building’s moving forward in ’21? I don’t think it’s dramatically different from what we were doing. As far as asking the same questions and doing the same research. I don’t want to be over-reactive to 2020.

Tod Petty:
Some of that’s going on.

Melissa Banko:
Some of that is, and that’s dollars too, that we’re going to retrofit buildings and-

Tod Petty:
UV lighting, air handling, removing the air three or four more times an hour than we had in the past.

Melissa Banko:
Listen, no one’s saying not do it, but do it smart, make sure you’ve done all the research and that you’re building is going to support those things. Yeah. What do we see as things in ’21? What do we see that we think is going to work, and what are we going to do about it? How are we going to lead effort in that? Good question?

Tod Petty:
Good question.

Melissa Banko:
I think renovation and repurpose and spending some love and some time on buildings that are already existing is going to be a big trend in ’21. I mean, obviously there was funds that weren’t spent in ’20. There are a lot of developers and operations teams that think they’re designing luxury and they’re not.

Tod Petty:
Right.

Melissa Banko:
That’s a big-

Tod Petty:
Well, they think they’re programming five-star dining and they’re not. They believe it is.

Melissa Banko:
So, there’s a disconnect there.

Tod Petty:
Is a big disconnect. There is a disconnect.

Melissa Banko:
But I will say-

Tod Petty:
This is not Ritz-Carlton. What we call resort is not Ritz-Carlton.

Melissa Banko:
Well, and there is a space for that. The reality is, is it’s just a very tiny portion. Again, as business people, we see that there’s still a void. I want to help be the design group that can say, yes, listen, we have luxury product on the market right now, and she’s stunning, but there are ways to also have really good looking mid-market products. There is. There’s a way to do that, and there’s a way to make the numbers work. Because we hear that a lot. Oh, that we can’t make the numbers work. It’s either got to be grit and you’ve got no money for finishes at all, or it’s got to be here. There’s a way to do here. Let me do here. Let me do the middle. Regardless of where you are, luxury to here, I think the biggest trend that you’re going to see in ’21 is just health and wellness overall.

Melissa Banko:
I think that you’re going to see a focus on fitness, I think you’re going to see a focus on PT and OT, I think you’re going to see a focus on spending more dollars for cleaner food, I think you’re going to see a focus on that F&D component altogether, I think you’re going to see a focus on mental health, because we’re all going to need to rebound from 2020. Regardless of whether you have luxury and you have a five star fitness center and spa, or you have a middle market product, or below, there still has to be a focus on wellness. I think that, that’s what we’re going to get a lot of requests for, and if we don’t, we will be pushing that agenda. You can talk to doctors all over this country that can talk about COVID all day long, but all of them will tell you that some of your best defense, whether you are 30 or you are 80, is being healthy and having a strong immune system and be mentally well enough to potentially fight something off.

Tod Petty:
Right. It’s really-

Melissa Banko:
Or, a pre-existing condition. I’m not a doctor. I’m not going to get into that.

Tod Petty:
Yeah. It’s not rocket science, right?

Melissa Banko:
Just take care of yourself.

Tod Petty:
I mean, Harvard Medical Review, it’s hydration, it’s nutrition, it’s movement. It’s positive psychology.

Melissa Banko:
And it’s engagement with other humans.

Tod Petty:
Right, socialization.

Melissa Banko:
So, how do we create the space that’s going to support staff to be able to give that to residents?

Tod Petty:
To your point, that’s going to be needed in every one of the models we just talked about.

Melissa Banko:
Every single one.

Tod Petty:
Skilled nursing.

Melissa Banko:
Every single one.

Tod Petty:
Assisted living memory care, independent living, 55 active adult.

Melissa Banko:
Health and wellness is the new way.

Tod Petty:
Right. Actually, that’s confirmed early in the year before the pandemic, it began to bubble up at National Investment Center, it began to bubble up at the American Senior Housing Association.

Melissa Banko:
There’s a spotlight.

Tod Petty:
It is. It is about, if you’re not ready to run a wellness and health care community, then you’re in the wrong space. If you think this is all about hospitality, you’re going to be in trouble because the future is healthcare.

Melissa Banko:
You’re right.

Tod Petty:
With that, Jimmy, I think we’re going to have to leave. I’ve been drinking from a fire hose with Melissa Banko.

Melissa Banko:
Because we don’t talk well. I don’t know how we-

Tod Petty:
We just run on and on. Thank you, Melissa, this was great today.

Melissa Banko:
Thank you for coming and hanging out.

Tod Petty:
We appreciate your-

Melissa Banko:
And talking all things senior living.

Tod Petty:
Yeah, awesome. Thank you.

Podcast Episode Description: One of the words that easily come to mind when describing the year 2020 is “disrupted”. Our daily routines, our way of working, our communications with others, have all been disrupted in a major way. While disruption often has a negative connotation, creative minds see it as an opportunity for outdated industries to adapt and overcome.

Tod Petty and Jimmy Carrion, along with special guest Matt Haywood from Tazergy, a leading senior housing technology systems company, talk about how the disruptions caused by COVID-19 can bring about innovative new ideas in the senior housing industry.

____________________________________

Tod Petty (00:22):

Hi, it’s Friday, October 30th, 2020. And you are about to enter the No Sales Zone. I want to welcome you to Senior Housing Unfiltered. I am Tod Petty, your host, along with Jimmy Carrion, my podcast associated business partner. We are here again, highlighting another impact maker this month, and a thought leader, making a difference in the senior housing industry, Jimmy.

Jimmy Carrion (00:44):

Yes, absolutely. Welcome to today’s broadcast. We are conversing with all types of people, entrepreneurs, leaders, activists, and other heroes from the senior housing world. Today, our guest is a hidden gem who has driven innovation and technology for over a decade. And in many ways, is responsible for the technology emerging in existing and new buildings all over the USA. Matt Haywood with Tazergy will join us sharing his dreams, experiences, and passion over the last decade in senior housing. But first, let us discuss where we are in the industry in a COVID-19 world and what we can expect in the next few months.

Tod Petty (01:23):

Wow, Jimmy, that’s great. Over the past several months, as we’ve all negotiated and navigated our way through this pandemic, one thing has become exceedingly clear. If you’re going to survive, you must adapt. Let me say that again. This is important. If you’re going to survive, you must adapt. It doesn’t take long Jimmy, if you’re in leadership to learn this principle through truism or a lesson, but decades come and go and some leaders have forgotten how to adapt.

Jimmy Carrion (02:00):

Absolutely. I spoken to many industry leaders and some feel like they have reached the end of the road, achieved all they want to or needed to achieve. And they suddenly find themselves having to relearn old lessons. Only this time, the lessons are going to cost them a lot more.

Tod Petty (02:15):

Yeah, that’s certainly been the case for leaders this year. This year leaders have been caught flat-footed in the face of COVID-19. Their lack of growth and development suddenly on display for everyone to see, whether it’s through bad decisions or a lack of leadership support. Times like the past few months revealed the truth that leaders who stop learning, they stop leading. I’m going to say that again, too. I like that. This is very important for the audience to understand and myself to understand every day: when we stop learning, we stop leading. So since my entrance in senior housing in 2000, I have been passionate about speaking about leadership deficit and how we need to raise up more and better leaders to create a better industry and world. So, we’ve shared this message in many different platforms in the past. And our enterprise has seen tremendous responses, but our voice alone will not be enough to turn the tide. Now with everything that has happened in 2020, the world itself seems to be calling out for everyone to step up to the plate and lead the way. It’s going to take everybody.

Jimmy Carrion (03:23):

It’s definitely gonna take everybody. Our team has worked diligently to bring this podcast and speaking events and leadership material to your home or office, laptop, phone, iPad. There’s all kinds of things. You can listen to now.

Tod Petty (03:35):

That’s a lot of devices.

Jimmy Carrion (03:38):

Absolutely. This is the year it’s critical for more leaders to invest in themselves and developing the leaders around them. We are convinced that 2021 will probably be the year that leaders of all stripes will answer the world’s calling to lead.

Tod Petty (03:51):

So it’s a dichotomy, but ironically enough, the global crises is revealing unending opportunities for each of us to answer the world’s call to be likable change agents, right? For the good. And senior housing will echo and amplify this call moving forward.

Jimmy Carrion (04:07):

Yeah. And I’m incredibly excited about the feature interviews coming up, as well as some behind the scenes conversations with some thought leaders outside of our industry. Tod, you have always said we should look outside of our own industry for new, fresh, bold ideas.

Tod Petty (04:23):

Yeah, I just want to take a moment here and look at this. Think about this question, where are big ideas born from? Are they inside the industry? Is it, is it right around us? I really believe that if you want to transform your business and our industry, we must look outside the industry for new ideas and we’ll be talking about three simple strategies, common to big ideas in a future podcast. So we’ll just take a brief look at those- one is violating industry norms. We started talking about that last week, appealing to the industry malcontents. I really liked that line, because people are just malcontent about average. There’s an enemy out there called average that must be defeated and we want to appeal to those people that want to defeat it. And we want to be true leaders, not just an alternate in the world today. So Jimmy, the best businesses are always about something in addition to making money. Oh, we just lost a lot of people. Oh, look at that. I mean, that’s the reality. I mean, it’s great to make money. Money fuels the engine of development, but there’s gotta be something more than just making money. At least in the minds of the patrons, besides services we offer, great businesses tend to be about something… You know, a grand idea. A mission, positioning, philosophy… One thing that everybody can hook into. You do not want to miss the episode coming up where we talk about this. And Jimmy, you cannot miss that episode because you have to record it. You have to be there.

Jimmy Carrion (06:01):

That is absolutely right. And I wouldn’t want to miss it, and I can’t repeat this enough, but you know, we want our audience to understand we’re doing this because we want to add value to you and see you grow in leadership and really make a difference in the industry that sometimes is stuck in ancient cultures. This is the year that you need to invest in your leadership and in the development of leaders around you. The world has shown us the desperate need for good values and good character to stand up and show the way forward.

New Speaker (06:29):

Yeah. In 2020, you know, since March, we can no longer expect to move forward by staying where we are- doing nothing, waiting for something to change. So I’m inviting our audiences to join us each month in the no selling zone and become a leader who will change the senior housing world.

Tod Petty (06:48):

The world is calling and we are answering the call by bringing the best leadership development material available wherever you are. All you need to do is visit our webpage, Senior Housing Unfiltered, or you can search for us in the Apple Podcasts app, download Senior Housing Unfiltered and secure your seat at the table.

Jimmy Carrion (07:08):

Absolutely. And just to add to that, not just Apple podcasts, but Spotify and I Heart Radio and LinkedIn and everywhere else where you listen to your podcasts, you can find us there. Well, Tod, it’s time to get started. We have a lot to talk about. I want to introduce Matt Haywood with Tazergy. Matt. Thanks for coming. Thanks for joining us. Welcome.

Matt Haywood (07:29):

Thank you for having me.

Jimmy Carrion (07:30):

So uh, tell us a little bit about yourself. So the people here can learn a little bit about you.

Matt Haywood (07:36):

Let’s see. I guess I am an entrepreneur. I’m passionate about my family my faith and relationships. I’m definitely passionate about my company and, and certainly the industry that we are privileged to serve in.

Jimmy Carrion (07:56):

That’s fantastic. Well, we’re happy to have you, and I know before we started here, we were discussing some topics. So Todd, I want you to bring it up and see what you have.

New Speaker (08:08):

Yeah, Jimmy. So the topic today is: “disruption must take place for innovation to have space”. And I, before we started the podcast, Matt, I was thinking about an article back from Senior Housing News back in September 24, 2014. I have it right here, right here: “Texas developer sees competitive edge and super high tech community,” Super high tech. And that was Katy, Texas. And we had partnered together. I had, I garnished some funds and we created a low voltage budget or secret stash, the secret stash. And we implemented technology that Senior Housing Hews would later say it was the most technologically advanced building that had been built. And we deployed technology that had not been available before. And I credit you. I know you don’t, but I credit you with the architect of that entire experience. And I wanted to talk about, you know, how we went from 2008 sitting at NIC, listening to the powers that be, talk about this thing called wifi and how a couple people were putting it in their buildings. But that was really ridiculous because no one would use it and older people didn’t need it. We might put it in the lobby for those to log in, but they saw no need for it. And you know, we’ve said to be competitive, we have to put this in. The world’s changing. We put this technology in, and then it just exploded with people, you know, putting it in their buildings as well. We all, we really got credit for being the innovators with the message because we did it. And we were just talking about this thing that was coming.

Matt Haywood (09:50):

Right.

New Speaker (09:50):

And that’s, that’s how it works. You talk about, you know, what the next wave is and you can own the message. And so we had that building and then everybody followed and now we’re here in 2020 and innovation is changing again. And some people are kind of stuck doing the same thing, and it’s changing. I thought we could have a conversation about that today.

Matt Haywood (10:09):

Great. The title that you introduced, as far as the disruption must occur, right? In order for innovation to have space, I think everybody can see the 2020 that that is a truth, right? I mean, look at the adoption of video conferencing, of working from home. Call centers. People in, in, across the globe, people were working from home. I was on tech support calls hearing roosters in the background.

New Speaker (10:49):

[Laughter]

Matt Haywood (10:49):

You know, dogs, too. Yeah. You know, and, and varying quality of, of conversations. But I always asked them, like, did you ever, in your wildest dreams, ever think you’d be working from home? The answer is always no. Right. So I just…

Tod Petty (11:08):

Yeah, good point. So entrepreneurs were saying that I don’t like this idea of working from home. Cause people will not be productive.

Matt Haywood (11:14):

I can’t control it. It’s going to be out of control. If I let people…

New Speaker (11:17):

People won’t work.

Matt Haywood (11:17):

Correct.

Tod Petty (11:19):

We talked to developers even, like, can we get conference rooms for the staff to come in and have remote meetings with them to help guide operations? And it was like, no, no, we’ve got to be there. We’ve got to be right in front of them to make sure things happen. And they were opposed to it. I mean, people were, were still gravitating toward bigger and larger offices and congregating together and creating corporate environments where they could direct the care and the monitoring of services. That’s all changed.

Matt Haywood (11:48):

For sure. Yeah. No, I mean, you, can’t, can’t go a community, you know, essential employees going into a community. If you need to go in you know, there’s, there’s testing and PPE that needs to be worn. And, and rightfully so, you know, so, technology has been the, the thing, the go-to that this industry has, to overuse the word, “pivoted”, right? So how many times do we hear the word pivoted this year? We’re going to pivot. Okay. some of us it’s, it’s how we operated. We operated off of this technology, you know, this, this is now an opportunity. A space has now been created because of this disruption for people to adopt, you know, and so what is, we talk about new normal and new things. It’s like, well, I don’t know a new normal. Change is the only constant, right?

Matt Haywood (12:44):

So, so how can we embrace learn, grow, get behind our teams, connect with technology, connect through technology, and really make our teams, the people that we work with, make their lives better and, and ultimately make the lives of our residents better? You know, isn’t, isn’t that what senior living is about, right? It’s, it’s creating a resident experience that the resident is, is engaged, wakes up happy, healthy. The families are, are, are happy. You know, we’ve got engaged team members. I, you know, utopia, my glass is half full all the time, but that’s, that’s, that’s my perspective of why do technology. Do technology to help drive connection.

New Speaker (13:30):

Right. So that’s interesting because in order to really do that, though if we look at the last few years, there seems to be the herd is rushed toward adopting cool and sexy technology in the building.

Matt Haywood (13:44):

If you build it, they will come.

New Speaker (13:45):

They will come. And it’s the newest and latest really almost like, gadget. Let’s put a variety of things that have been put in the buildings and six months later, right. They’re outdated.

Matt Haywood (13:54):

Yeah. So were not used or forgotten.

New Speaker (13:57):

They were not used, they can’t be adopted. The staff doesn’t have time or whatever the case may be. So, you know, one of the things, I think, is going to be very important, moving forward is to have a, an infrastructure that allows the deployment of wifi throughout the entire campus.

Matt Haywood (14:17):

For sure.

New Speaker (14:17):

Overcoming any restrictions that would stop it and having significant bandwidth. So whatever technology we put in the buildings can be deployed, we can rip it out and put something new in. And particularly, I think it’s important with independent living and active adult, these new communities that are gonna come up to serve a younger generation that’s not needing a higher level of care, so they can bring in medical technology to age in place without having to go to, necessarily, a medical model with all of the devices and opportunities coming out with telehealth, the delivery of medication. So, that means budgeting and wifi is going to have to be very robust in the communities moving forward,

Matt Haywood (15:04):

Connectivity is crucial. Stable, reliable connectivity is even more crucial. You know, not all wifi is created equal. It’s essential to, when you’re talking about strategy, it’s important to partner with the right people, not only internally, but externally, right? As an operator, I think that one of the challenges that I see. It’s a friction point. When do you hire and own the internal talent? Where do you outsource, to rely on somebody outside? You know, the risk as well. I need them internal because then I can control them. And it’s, it’s an interesting, it’s an interesting paradigm because, can you really control an employee any more than you can control a partner?

Jimmy Carrion (15:53):

And let me bring it back to Wi-Fi, right? Because I remember, you know, in growing up and your grandparents, Oh, no, we’re not going to use Facebook. They’re not going to use this technology. They’re not going to want an iPad. And I, you can’t take away the iPad from my grandparents. Right?

Matt Haywood (16:08):

They’re probably like a two or three device.

Jimmy Carrion (16:10):

Exactly, exactly. So, yeah, what’s, so everyone can understand the importance, because I know development in the past this, you know, we’ll get wifi in the common areas. That’s all we need. We don’t need it in the rooms. Why would we need it in the rooms?

Matt Haywood (16:26):

Right.

Jimmy Carrion (16:26):

I’m just wasting money. So what, if you can go into detail a little bit about the importance and what it affects when you don’t have wifi. And the advantages of having wifi in the rooms and throughout the entire building.

Matt Haywood (16:40):

Right. Todd referred back to, you know, 2008 at a conference, right? Where we used the term wifi. And I think back in the industry, it’s like, oh, we have wifi. Right? And that, how do you know, like what, what flavor of wifi do you have the good, the bad, or the ugly, you know? And it’s like, well, I, I just need you to come. Can you just sign, move in? And I’ve got wifi. That’s, that’s what I’ve got. You know, it was that crucial thing. There’s, there’s a whole lot that goes into wifi. It’s science, it’s physics, it’s wavelengths. Right? So when I say all, not all wifi is, is created equal, it isn’t. The other thing about wifi is that can you, as an operator, limit the number of wireless devices that are within range of your community? Like, can you, can you turn devices off or can you tell people to turn their wifi off? Or can you tell them to leave? Or can you tell, you know, your, your team members that are coming in, “Hey, when you come into community, turn your cell phones off and don’t have wifi on.” You can’t.

Jimmy Carrion (17:46):

Right.

Matt Haywood (17:46):

So there’s, so your wifi has to perform and respond to all the devices that are within range of it, regardless of whether devices are connected. Does that make sense? That’s kind of the rub for wifi. We’ve probably all been in coffee shops where you’re sitting there and you’re like, signal, I got five bars and you might say, “well, your bandwidth sucks.” Or your throughput. Right. Like, I can’t do what I need to, it, it actually might be that the engine that’s driving, that AP can’t respond to the number of requests because it just can’t handle the data that’s coming through. So to your question about what do you need in a community to say wifi there or connectivity, you have IOT, you have RTLS. Some RTLS uses wifi.

Tod Petty (18:35):

So, real time location services?

Matt Haywood (18:39):

Right.

Tod Petty (18:39):

And we’re gonna talk about that. How it relates to COVID-19 and contact tracing for before we end this podcast?

Jimmy Carrion (18:47):

Absolutely. We’ll bring it back around.

Matt Haywood (18:50):

Yes. In order for those things to work, you need to have a, I’d say, an ecosystem, a homogenous ecosystem. You can’t say, Oh, we’ve got, if you want to name one cable provider, like Xfinity, you drive around, you see all the Xfinity wifi hotspots. Well, if you were to just put a bunch of Xfinity hotspots cable modems in there, it’s not one ecosystem that you can wander down your hallway and not drop a phone call, right? It is not an enterprise-grade network where you can connect various devices and get data.

Tod Petty (19:25):

And it might not hand off as you move from one location to the next.

Matt Haywood (19:27):

If you want to sit and stream, it’s great. If you want to be connected on a phone call, talking with a resident’s family, as you get off the elevator and walk down the corridor to go visit a resident on the third floor, you can’t rely upon a publiccarrier-grade network to be your enterprise dependency.

Tod Petty (19:56):

Yeah, that makes total sense, Matt. And I think in the minds of developers entrepreneurs, as they were trying to create a property, a community, in senior housing, they looked at the devices that were going to be functioning, just that, to determine what they needed, and in an effort to cut costs, just addressed those things.

Matt Haywood (20:18):

Right.

Tod Petty (20:18):

And when you went beyond those things, the bandwidth was not sufficient. The coverage was not sufficient to allow the community to evolve. And so the world we’re in now is, we have people successfully aging. There’s going to be this bifurcation of who’s going where, right? So AL memory care residents will be higher acuity levels. They’ll, they’ll need more care. They’ll go there. And anybody underneath that is going to want to go to a place to avoid that. If they are not that sick and they’re going to need to, in order to successfully age, they’re going to want to be able to be in their rooms and stream Netflix. They’re going to want to do telehealth, now that’s becoming readily available, in their rooms. Not even a suite. Talk to their families. If they need medication, the pharmacy can come in, put a machine on the wall that will deliver meds based on the time, because it’s tied to the wifi.

Jimmy Carrion (21:16):

Right. Or it’s at the front desk, or at the front door.

Tod Petty (21:21):

Yes. Yes. So just having it in, in the common areas and it is no longer going to be adequate for a person to successfully age. And we have to, we have to ready for that. Is that a fair statement?

Matt Haywood (21:33):

Oh, for sure. I mean, there’s, there’s platforms that are out there that just can’t exist without an enterprise-grade network. The data has to flow, right? It has to be one network in order to get from point A to point B within your community and then to get out to the internet, you know, and it has to be dependable and reliable. It can’t be the kind of thing that you’re asking your executive director or your maintenance director to go run and power site and something. It’s not going to work by buying a bunch of wireless access point routers and plugging them in, right. Intentionality, right? As an operator, you, you need reliable, dependable, consistent wifi connectivity as a foundational building block.

Tod Petty (22:22):

So, can you help the audience and Jimmy and I understand where the disconnect is because we’re seeing many people getting into this space. A lot of them do not have healthcare backgrounds, but they are able to build beautiful buildings, which is important. And so they come into this space and when they begin to program the community so that it’s able to function, this is something that’s overlooked in the development process. Why is that I can go into buildings, we’re visiting buildings now we’re looking at acquiring, there’s all of a sudden, a lot for sale. It’s interesting. They’re two and three years old. And when we walk in the building, the tech, the technology does not meet the demand of the devices.

Matt Haywood (23:11):

Yeah. I tend to I mean, we are Senior Housing Unfiltered, I tend to see an operator, and in my recommendation, an operator needs to know what they want, what they need in order to deliver that care. And if you need connectivity, then you need connectivity and you need to be able to communicate if there’s certain systems, technologies that you, as an operator, know you need in order to deliver the care that your capital partner is expecting you to care that you’re going to be, then you need to say, I need this. And you don’t. And you need to say without passion, pride, or prejudice, like, this is what we need. And you’re not, you’re not blowing their dollars. You know, you’re actually preserving their dollars because you’re saying, listen, you hired me to run this place to lease it up, to stabilize, to deliver great care.

Matt Haywood (24:07):

These are the systems. These are the platforms that I have determined. And if you want to have a conversation with me about the manner in which I’m doing, and the method, then let’s do that. But let’s not do that at the development table, while we’re trying to get this building out of the ground and with all due respect, please, please don’t VE those components out of my ability to deliver care.

Tod Petty (24:28):

Right. And when you say “VE”…

Matt Haywood (24:30):

Value engineering.

Tod Petty (24:32):

You’re talking about value engineering, thank you.

Jimmy Carrion (24:35):

Let me dig a little deeper in here. It’s the lack of knowing what kind of wifi and technology that they need, would you say it’s just a lack of programming and that these developments just live in an Excel sheet and they don’t have thought process behind the healthcare and the programming in the model of actually operating these buildings? And it’s just another building that returns an X amount of numbers?

Matt Haywood (25:01):

No, it’s a fantastic question. And I’d say the simple answer is, yes. One of the ways that we help transcend or sidestep that, or partner with a developer, is to say, listen, we can give you a budget for what a network or wifi would cost you. To put in so that they can give, you know, I call it, let’s paint the ball field. Let’s give them the ballpark. So they know approximately the size of what needs to be invested. And if they choke and what it’s like on that number, then we talk about it, right. It’s better there than going in, sharpening a pencil and pouring a whole bunch of effort into building this bill of materials and engineering, this beautiful thing. And then them say, why can’t I just go to Best Buy? I mean, Radio Shack doesn’t exist anymore. That’s why it’s still things around. But, you know, can’t, I just go buy that stuff and put it in, you know? Yes. But do you want it to work? They don’t care because they’re not running it. They’re turning to the operator. You know? So that’s, so what we’ve said is help you with the budget so that we’re trying to get them out of being the shopper, right. Trying to ’cause they, they feel that their job is to, to buy, to spend the dollars wisely, right? So they try to become a buyer of technology, but that’s not their gifting. Right. In order to buy it, you’ve got a network that has to be engineered, right? You can’t just, if you want to go price shop a network, what you need to do is hire somebody to engineer your system, and now let’s go price it. No different than a building.

Matt Haywood (26:37):

You go hire an architect, you put together a set of plans and specs, and then you, you might send it out to the street and go get a few GCs, get some numbers back. But our network and wifi, it’s different. It’s like, Hey, go get somebody. Oh, well, let’s take theirs. And to send it over there, how you give me a number for that one? Well, why is there a different than this? Well, that’s a different manufacturer. Do you know the difference between the manufacturer? Who were you going to trust to help you make a decision on a foundational building block of what you, as an operator, what your residents need and expect? I think you’ve, you’ve been at operators before where the residents complain, the staff complains, connectivity is sub sub par.

Tod Petty (27:19):

Well, exactly. So what if what you just described has not happened, and we’re looking at cost driving the entire solution, then there’s a win, right? When we get the lowest cost solution, the problem is once you open up and you’re taking care of residents, your care staff can’t log onto the wifi in order to provide medication and document through an electronic health record. And when they move down the hallway, there’s not an adequate handoff to the wireless access point.

Matt Haywood (27:52):

So they park their med cart, run down to the elevator, deliver meds.

Tod Petty (27:55):

Now we have a COVID 19 pandemic.

Matt Haywood (27:59):

You don’t pay them hourly, right?

Tod Petty (28:00):

Of course not, it’s just a small salary.

New Speaker (28:05):

[Laughter].

Tod Petty (28:05):

So they get frustrated. Then you have clients in there, even in the common area that are trying to log onto your wifi. Assuming it’s quality like a hotel, they can’t log in, or they log in, and they’re logged in, but then when you test the speed, it doesn’t even register because there’s no bandwidth, right? So that’s frustrating. A telephone service is cut off because their voice over internet protocol, the wifi is not servicing them logging into the wifi via cell phones. But then this connectivity problem there. I’ve even been to, believe it or not, I’ve been in communities kind of like our mission statement that we talked on the wall that no one knew about, I’ve been in communities where they were passing out a Netflix login to 80 residents and they all couldn’t log in and they didn’t know why. And they didn’t even realize, of course, that everybody has limited numbers. Correct?

Matt Haywood (28:58):

It’s the same thing with your wifi key. Here’s your business, here’s your business network key handed to your executive director and all the department heads. And if a resident’s family walks in, Oh, the guest doesn’t work. Oh, here, try this key.

Tod Petty (29:10):

That’s right. But value engineering Matt, is not going to work, moving forward with a healthcare model. And I remember this year being at both the National Investment Center conference year prior, and also at ASHA. And there was a big announcement that the, the keynote messages were all about. Look, if you can’t run a healthcare model, then you’re going to be in trouble. It sucked the oxygen out of the room. Because most people coming in are not used to running a healthcare models.

Matt Haywood (29:42):

No, it’s resort.

Tod Petty (29:43):

It’s resort, resort, resort.

Matt Haywood (29:44):

Touchy, feely.

Tod Petty (29:45):

Yeah. So healthcare has been marginalized and it’s been commoditized and “Oh, anybody can do that.” We’re all about, you know, resort living. Now, the pandemic hits and we need response to this pandemic, this pathogen. We need to know how to quarantine residents. They need to be able to contact their loved ones through tablets. And no one’s prepared. And no one knows what to do because they’re trying to run a resort. And now it’s really a disadvantage.

Matt Haywood (30:17):

Disinformation. Disinformation, that actually works today.

Tod Petty (30:21):

It’s a disadvantage. So they’re not, they weren’t ready. They’re not ready. And they can’t, they can’t deliver. What’s being promised in the future is going to demand electronic health records, electronic medical records, a robust wifi for, for everything we’re talking about.

Matt Haywood (30:46):

I mean, you typically only have one resident at a community, right?

Tod Petty (30:50):

[Laughter.]

Tod Petty (30:50):

Well, we are seeing some communities like that. [Laughter.]

Matt Haywood (30:54):

That might be a good opportunity for a sale.

Tod Petty (30:57):

But I think the average is about 80% right now.

Matt Haywood (30:59):

So if you have 80%, would you say you’ve got your small communities, you’ve got your medium and your large communities, right?

Tod Petty (31:06):

Correct.

Matt Haywood (31:06):

And typically we’re multi-dwelling, multifamily, multi-housing, right? Like that’s, that’s what senior living is a member of. Right. That’s what our model is. So the challenge when it comes to network is you can’t put one device out and expect one device to serve all of your team, your residents. Right. You’ve got to have, you’ve got, if you’ve got 80 beds, you’ve got 80 rooms, you’ve got 80 doors, you’ve got ADP tax, you’ve got ADT stats, you know, you might need 80 Wi-Fi APs.

Tod Petty (31:43):

Right. Right,

Matt Haywood (31:44):

So, to walk in and think, well, you can, you can deliver a community with 80 doorknobs and 80 of the other stuff and say, well, we’re just going to do with two, is two APs good? Will that suffice? And then wonder why, you know, care and tracking, you can’t get it. You can’t, you can’t expect your operator to function better when they’re not equipped with the tools. And so that’s why we try to, to partner with our operators and help them make sure that they’re clear on defining what their strategy is, how they’re going to go after it and build this foundational building block. Right. And to realize that what we, where we are today and where you want to get to tomorrow is important, but we’re gonna, we’re gonna start. You might not be able to put 80 enterprise grade wifi access points out tomorrow because we only have one resident and you have 80 beds. So we’re going to start with one because we’re going to, we’re going to grow into it. So there’s a way to get phased. But again, what’s the goal? How do you want to get there? And let’s, and let’s pursue that.

Tod Petty (32:50):

Yeah. One of the things I really liked about you, Matt, and going back to our Katy building was you’ve always been very modality neutral. So, so you’ve not had a, you’ve not been in love necessarily with one particular piece of equipment. And we were able to have these design charrettes and technology where we invited several RFID door lock companies in and let them display the features and benefits of their product along with the developer and who was going to be the executive director and who was going to manage it. And we all had this design charette, and we looked at RFID, we looked at RTLS, we looked at video surveillance. We looked at what kind of music was going to be. And everybody got involved with signage, digital signage. And it’s like, Hey, whatever you want, we can deliver. And that’s really important on any project, because it could be a middle-market project that has the same features, but maybe not as the same depth and robustness.

Matt Haywood (33:52):

I think the volume’s turned down a little bit, you know? Right. Yeah, for sure.

Tod Petty (33:56):

And, and so those are the kind of, that’s the kind of education, though, that needs to take place with everybody involved in a project to make it successful.

Matt Haywood (34:03):

Absolutely. You know, if the developer is going to call all the shots right, then, then they, they hand over this, this building, you know, an inanimate object that an operator then makes it a home, right. You’re moving residents, you’re moving teams in there. And all of a sudden, now these systems, those are the expensive dollars, is what we say, right? The cheap dollars are your loan dollars, you know, get, get the stuff you need in behind the walls, get the core stuff that you really need so that you can, that you can start building, filling that, that community up and really, and really making it run. And even if you are, we are moving to a less resort style and a more healthcare model, it doesn’t mean that we can throw away the lessons that we learned from resort-style or still give those, those amenities. Right. As soon as we can go back into the communities, you know, we are going to be able to relate and sit with people and go back and say, Hey, come on into our community. You know, that’s one of the conversations we’ve had about how do you, how do you create flex spaces? You know, technology can, can open the door for that so that you’re not designing a static space.

Tod Petty (35:20):

Do you mind if we segue into that? I think that would be an interesting topic for our audience. So we we’ve seen over the lastI don’t know, five or six years, maybe even eight, the creation of resort properties. And there was this kind of common strategy to create a, we’re going to go to the common area of the grand hall and to the right, we have a movie theater, and to the left, we have a salon. And then to the left next, we have a fitness room. And then next to that, we have an art studio and it was fairly innovative, but that’s, that’s somewhat, almost dated now, right?

Matt Haywood (35:55):

It’s also expensive.

Tod Petty (35:57):

It is expensive and quite frequently, those, those rooms do not get used. And so, you know, we talked several years ago that we saw a day coming, which is probably already here, where you’d have somewhat like a Hyatt Place experience, where you walk in the door, you get checked in at concierge desk, you go over, have a pizza and a beer. Then, they serve you the pizza and the beer. You need a ride to the airport, so the concierge jumps in and takes you to the airport. And that’s kind of what we’re seeing in space conservation now. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Matt Haywood (36:29):

Yeah. Certainly the projects, we love innovating, you know, so disruption, innovation, or we’re talking about space, you know, so the, the spaces in senior living we walk into these communities and you see these, these dead spaces. It’s very rarely, I walk in and see that a theater is occupied, except for movie night. So if you’re going to design a building and you’re going to have a theater, and you’re going to dump, let’s say on a good day, maybe 10 grand, just into maybe some technology. And then, I don’t know, are you building a community that’s a hundred bucks a square to build, or is it 250 bucks a square? So is, is the, you know, are we talking about a 200 square foot room, or we’re talking about a 600 square foot room, and that’s how much money you spent to build out this, this space that literally is used maybe once a week, I think we can do better. You know? And I think that the technology today, we’ve seen a huge push for video, you know, how do you get a resident and remote family engaged? You know, how do you get your remote teams engaged? And so certainly in order to design those spaces at a new construction project, it’s not something that we can just walk in and say, Hey, this solution works, all you have to do is plug it in and we’re good.

Tod Petty (37:43):

Or I just call you, or I even call Best Buy Geek Squad, to come in.

Matt Haywood (37:50):

You just buy, you, go grab one widget off the shelf. You walk in your community, plug it in. It’s done. Right. I mean, Alexa is not just like plug it in. You’ve got to step through some things just to set it. Right. You’re talking about an assembly, right? In, in your, in your space, you might have a display. You’re going to have a microphone, your video, you’re going to have internet. You’re going to have a computer, you know, and you’re going to need it to work. I mean, we’re sitting here in a room with a microphone and we all needed to be within range of the microphone. Right. Microphone matters.

Tod Petty (38:19):

Yeah. I hope it works. It was a special microphone, too, so that it can pick up all of us at the same time.

Tod Petty (38:29):

Jimmy’s going to click a picture of this and put it on the website so everybody can see our cool microphone.

Jimmy Carrion (38:32):

Yeah.

Tod Petty (38:32):

Second podcast. We able to upgrade, someone, donated us a good microphone.

Matt Haywood (38:37):

We had very silent drones flying around the three 60 panoramic of this whole thing. In order to innovate, it’s also not one-sided, right?, So in order to create flexible spaces that don’t fall flat, when a community opens, it can’t just simply sit on the shoulders of an architect and a developer. Right. It’s gotta be somebody who’s an operator that actually has some, some understanding of what this community is going to look like and operate like.

Tod Petty (39:04):

You’re right. Because every community is unique. And every community should have a unique value proposition. Something it offers that no one else potentially excels in.

Matt Haywood (39:13):

You hear it all the time. Like, you know that sometimes, as a developer shopping for an operator, they’re shopping for the right operator to run their buildings. Is that the right fee? Or is that the right operator that’s going to lease it up? Is that the right operator that’s just going to make them profitable so they can set it and forget it? You know, what is the right?

Tod Petty (39:33):

Well, it should be synergy, like-mindedness, a similar vision.

Matt Haywood (39:38):

One would think. It might just be money.

Tod Petty (39:41):

Well, there are some people that make decisions just on money, for sure.

Matt Haywood (39:47):

Some people prioritize money more than others. And that’s fine. You just need to know where on the spectrum it falls, but we’re talking about care, right. We’re talking about residents, like in order for a community to make it, we have to deliver care. We have to have people, we have to have stuff that works. And I think that’s what, that’s what the pandemic is, has made a lot of operators realize is like, “Oh man. Yeah. I knew that what we had, wasn’t good. And now we have to live with what’s not good because I can’t make it work in the midst of a pandemic.”

Jimmy Carrion (40:26):

That’s a very good comment, because, the pandemic and COVID definitely brought it to the front, but we have to remember that that’s not the only virus that’s been around. And we have to work and be better. And that brings to the point on wifi. Right. And I come from hotels. So wifi to me is, you know, I’m going to get the upgrade in every room, if you want the fast Wi-Fi. All that needs to work is computers. And people might look at it and say, “Oh, okay, great. Enough wifi for the computers to work and the cell phones to work and the phones to work.” But especially because you brought up the point of care and I want to get into a really good, really important topic, which is the wearables and RTLS- real-time location services- and how that doesn’t work if you don’t have wifi throughout the building. Your wearable doesn’t magically just pick up Xfinity out of somewhere and it just starts working. So, you know, Tod and Matt, if you guys want to get a little bit, you know, as an operator and, really just the value of having these wearables and video surveillance, door locks, contactless door locks. And just as simple as that, you know, to get wifi to work.

Matt Haywood (41:39):

For sure. We’ve worked with a few operators that were early adopters of RTLS. And one of the great things, what’s one of the pros, well, you could walk to the front desk and with the proverbial question is like, Hey, I’m here to see my mom, my dad. Right. Do you know where they are?

Tod Petty (41:59):

No. Somewhere in the building.

Jimmy Carrion (41:59):

How big’s your building? Don’t worry, they’re inside!

Matt Haywood (41:59):

So that’s, that’s begins the hunt, right? So simply, you can just type in their name. So with RTLS, we’re talking about you don’t need your resident to actively push a button or anything. RTLS is going to be a passive, it’s going to report and say, Oh, you know, as long as you’re wearing a device, a wearable, a pendant or watch or something, it’s going to report that device’s location within your wifi environment. And we say wifi, RTLS might use wifi. It might use some other, you know, Bluetooth, low energy. Some use a different wireless made by another, another company. So again, RTLS doesn’t necessarily mean wifi, but just to make sure that we’re clear, that was a benefit, right. Was just out of the gate, you can tell the visitor who’s coming in, where, where the resident is in your community. That’s a service that you can deliver. And that’s, that is hotel like, right. You walk in like, “Oh, I just provided service in a timely manner. We didn’t take very long. And now that person can go find them. They’re upstairs on the second floor in the activity room.”

Matt Haywood (43:26):

Thank you very much. Right now we’re in pandemic. And we talk about what else can we do with this system? You know, some of these devices needed to be developed because battery life is important. Right. And that’s, that’s the other key, right? Like a wearables gotta be powered, right. It’s gotta be online in order to be able to be detected. Otherwise it’s useless.

Tod Petty (43:45):

We had a client we’ve talked with the other day helping. And they had a, a nurse that worked in the community that worked at another community. She came into the community was exposed to a resident. She ended up testing positive for COVID. She was with one resident and there was concern that, okay, how far did this spread? And so, in what we’ve been talking about, putting in our buildings in the future is the ability with RTLS to go back and find out where the individual…

Matt Haywood (44:19):

Like a breadcrumb trail.

Tod Petty (44:19):

Exactly. Contract tracing.

Matt Haywood (44:23):

Where your staff went, where the resident went. Right. It’s correct.

Tod Petty (44:25):

So we can adequately test for that as well. And I remember we were on the cutting edge, I guess, of putting passive motion sensors in 2014, right? Because we realized that if we had these motion sensors installed and it was gathering data of how many times the resident got up at night, where did they go? They went to the bathroom. How long they were in the bathroom, how frequently they’re in the bathroom. If we could gather those analytics, then we could at least know, “Hey, they’re up all night, they’re sleep deprived. Maybe they’re not having exacerbation of dementia. Maybe they’re so sleep deprived and they need an ambien versus some more medication to control their dementia,” or may, maybe there’s other issues that we could suggest the doctor to look at. And those that was the original technology that RTLS would deliver on now as well.

Matt Haywood (45:24):

Correct. All of that is, Tod. That the piece that is like critically important, all this is possible. It’s not that difficult. It’s not like it’s Star Trek technology that’s far off. I hear operators talk frequently risk. If you’ve got the data and you don’t do something with that data, you are now at risk. So instead of going at risk, I see operators don’t go at risk.

Tod Petty (45:57):

Well, we don’t know where mom is at. Then we can’t be accountable for it. We don’t have a device to know where she’s at.

Matt Haywood (46:03):

So therefore, right. So, so, you know, in order for things to change, we have to kind of change everybody’s perspective, too. Right. So if we’re going to expect an operator to take risk for us and deliver care and do what we can’t. We can’t care for mom. That’s why they’re there. So then kind of trust you to do that. And I’ve got to get behind you. Right? We’ve got to get behind the operators. We’ve got to empower them. We’ve got to, we’ve got to help them solve this. And we’ve got to understand that they’re human too. And that we want them to take the risk, to try and put together something that ultimately delivers better outcomes. Right. Instead of, “Oh, you had that data available and didn’t do anything?” Well, my attorney is going to call you.”

Tod Petty (46:50):

Yeah. Yeah.

Matt Haywood (46:51):

You know what I mean? Instead of like, maybe the question is like, how do we help that operator? Make sure it’s ops. Right. Operational. And it’s not easy. How often do you close your communities?

Tod Petty (47:05):

Never.

Matt Haywood (47:11):

I mean, they’re close. And you brought up a good point. In senior living, this isn’t the first pandemic that a community has experienced. Scabies, other, you know, flu, and diarrhea, like, like things tear through the community. And so, communities, operators are used to responding to shut downs, lock downs.

Tod Petty (47:39):

Quarantines. It’s hard to control.

Matt Haywood (47:39):

It’s part of the nature.

Tod Petty (47:45):

The good ones will have health care protocol in place, right?

Matt Haywood (47:48):

Yeah. I mean, I’ve been in senior living since ’99 in various capacities, mostly technology and into construction. But I’ve seen it, too. You know, where our corporate has to go into a community because it shut down because of scabies. I was like, “What’s scabies?” So if we can, through technology, help deliver that, that, that I think helps, helps an operator. But we also have to have to answer the question of how do we lower that risk concern, right? Like, I don’t want to go do this because if I have the data and I do nothing about it, or I didn’t respond in time now, now I’m liable. You know?

Jimmy Carrion (48:29):

Absolutely. I think it’s the operator’s responsibility to take that responsibility. We are responsible for the residents. And we see a lot of times where, you know, you’d put in the programming and you know, it happened, we know, we have to be responsible for that. And we just yeah, we just need to take charge.

Matt Haywood (48:52):

I agree. The vendors need to be part of that too. Like, you know, we talked about why can’t you just go to Best Buy and buy it? Because it’s not just something you just put in. We talked about engineering, you talked about designing and it’s not a finish line.

Matt Haywood (49:07):

It’s a starting line. You put in wifi, you put in these systems, it’s a start, right. You were using clipboards yesterday. You’re using electronic medical records today. You expect amazing. Well, why don’t we have the good data? We’ll because we just started getting the data in, you know, in a few months, we’re going to start to do that. So who’s massaging the data and making sure that you’re garbage in garbage out.

Tod Petty (49:31):

And this is the same process the hospitals went through 10 years ago when they adopted electronic health platforms as well. They had the same challenges.

Matt Haywood (49:38):

Correct. And you know, the hospitality, the hotel industry had the same sort of wifi challenge that senior living does. The hotel industry had the same problem with electronic locking is like, no, like how many, how many hotels do you go to these days, where you get a mechanical key.

Matt Haywood (49:51):

I think it’s just, when you go to the motel and you’re driving across the U.S. Did you get a square metal key that like cuts a hole through your pocket. Right. But on apps now it’s on your phone, correct? Yeah. I can just put an app on there, but senior living in order to accomplish that, there’s an operation side to it. Right. And that’s something that a vendor has to, has to be part of the equation. It’s not just a set it, forget it, walk away. And the same thing for an operator. Right. Because you’ve got people in your communities that are going to be running this and it’s got to work and you can’t have to have a special degree. So they’re just, it’s a partnership really, to help solve this. And I don’t want anybody to think, it’s like, well, if you buy the right access point, you’re good. It isn’t.

Tod Petty (50:34):

It can make a difference though.

Matt Haywood (50:36):

[Laughs.] For sure. But, remember, one can’t serve, you know, all 80 rooms. It’s just not going to reach, unless you’re got a community of mice and it’s very small, compact place.

Tod Petty (50:47):

I think we have time for one more example. Do we, Jimmy? You’re watching the clock.

Jimmy Carrion (50:52):

Yeah. I think we’re going to need, like, six more podcasts.

Tod Petty (50:55):

We’re going to have to do a continuation here.

Jimmy Carrion (51:00):

We’ll treat everyone to a mid month podcast. Let Matt talk freely, but yes, yes, let’s get one more topic in.

Tod Petty (51:13):

So I thought about our topic: disruption must take place for innovation to have a space. And so I remember prior to the pandemic, trying to suggesting that potentially increasing the bandwidth and the wifi so that it included the resident’s room for various reasons, but one particular reason so that we could power tablets, right. That older adults can have. Maybe we gave it to them when they came in the community. So they could be in continual contact with their families. And you know, this is risk mitigation on one hand because the state of Texas was allowing, it allows now, nanny cams. So residents, families can come in and with the residents’ permission where they can put a camera in the room and they can monitor all that’s going on and other states are moving toward adopting this. So if, if we actually had the ability to have a wifi, I mean, excuse me, a tablet, where the residents could talk with their families, then this would be one more way to connect with them, get their eyes on them.

Tod Petty (52:22):

And you know, some people might say, “Oh, I don’t, I don’t want to cause more confusion or more contact. We want to kind of control that.” I disagree with that. Quite frankly. I think it’s transparent. You’re going to deal with issues anyway. So, but the feedback I got was that, wow, they can’t use the tablets kind of reminds me of 20 2008. Oh, the elder adults can’t use the tablets. They don’t know how. They’re not going to use it. The family is going to want to come in. And so now we have disruption. Pandemic mandated shutdown in the communities, the families can’t come down. And, and so how do we fix that? Oh, great idea. Let’s get a tablet.

Jimmy Carrion (53:02):

Yeah.

Tod Petty (53:05):

See if the resident can use Facetime, can they use Skype? And so the adoption was much quicker in the midst of the disruption than it ever was prior to it, when people objected to it and thought it was less personal.

Matt Haywood (53:19):

I have staff using their own devices. Like that’s who we have serving in the communities. Right. They’re solving the problem as long as they have cell or wifi, they can do it. We’re bringing it to some place that they have connectivity.

Tod Petty (53:37):

My mom went from a Jitterbug when she was like, “This is really complicated. I don’t know this stuff. I’ll never be able to handle it.” So she liked the Jitterbug ’cause all those commercials, but once she was quarantined and we got her a smartphone and made it simple for her, we could FaceTime her any time. And that connection, even though remote and through virtual, still made a difference.

Jimmy Carrion (54:03):

It’s all about education. It’s all about educating.

Matt Haywood (54:04):

I, you know, the, the joke about the pastor’s wife, right? Blowing kisses to the pastor, it’s like, you know, keep it simple, stupid, right? That’s the KISS analogy. KISS. And that’s what we have to keep in mind when it comes to technology is that we are mindful of who’s going to be using the technology because the key is it’s got to be used if it isn’t used, there’s no point in putting it in. Right. Which is, which kind of goes back to our, like, if you build it, they will come. Well, that was, that was the resort. Like, we’ve got wifi, come on. Right. Well, we have connectivity. Right. And we have the care. Yeah. So you can come here and connect and we’ll provide care and we’ve got you. Right. And, and that’s, that’s what it needs to be. In my perspective.

Tod Petty (54:56):

There’s a great point.

Jimmy Carrion (54:58):

Matt, Tod, I think we could go for hours. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna have to..

Matt Haywood (55:03):

If we have enough snacks, we can do it.

Jimmy Carrion (55:06):

But I think this has been great.

Tod Petty (55:06):

This has been great. I appreciate it. Always a pleasure. Thank you for joining us.

Matt Haywood (55:11):

Thank you for having me

New Speaker (55:11):

Listen to our podcast when it comes out and we will talk to you soon.

Tod Petty (55:18):

Yeah. You guys please stay safe and we’ll have Matt back in the very near future to talk about some other unfiltered topics. Thank you guys.

 

 

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MIAMI, FL— Lloyd Jones Senior Living, the senior housing management arm of Lloyd Jones LLC, launched its podcast series, Senior Housing Unfiltered, on September 30, 2020. The podcast, cohosted by Tod Petty, executive vice president, and Jimmy Carrion, vice president of business development, was created to foster authentic conversations about the unique challenges the senior housing industry faces.

Topics will range from how to bridge the gap between corporate leadership and onsite teams to how disruption is needed within the industry’s current development, operations, and marketing models, and more, with one common theme: innovation.
“Our goal with Senior Housing Unfiltered is to present innovative solutions for owners, operators, and professionals in the senior housing field,” said Petty. “We plan to bring value to listeners by sharing the practical ways that our industry’s brightest thought leaders make an impact.”

Senior Housing Unfiltered is planned to publish new episodes monthly. The podcast is currently available for free listening on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other streaming services. To contact the hosts about becoming a podcast guest or potential sponsor, contact Tod Petty at tpetty@lloydjonesseniorliving.com.

About Lloyd Jones LLC

Lloyd Jones, LLC is a real estate investment and development firm with 40 years in the industry under the continuous direction of Chairman/CEO, Christopher Finlay. Based in Miami, the firm has divisions in multifamily investment, development, management, and senior living. Its investment partners include institutions, private investors, and its own principals.
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As the baby boomer population grows and life expectancy rises, the concept of senior housing has evolved to support a more independent, active lifestyle. Seniors want the ability to live safely, independently, and comfortably. At the same time, the current for-sale model of senior housing is unreachable to all but the top 5 percent of household income. According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, housing inequality is rising among America’s older adults, and that “the time for innovation—in [senior] housing—is now. The quality of life and wellbeing of over a quarter of the US population will depend on it.” One of those innovative solutions pioneered by Lloyd Jones Senior Living is the development of middle-market rental housing that allows seniors to age in place effectively and access healthcare services on an as-needed basis. Lloyd Jones Senior Living’s Aviva-branded active adult communities are designed to support successful aging in place, and the rapid advancement in technology, especially in healthcare technology, is a key component to this success.

The implementation of advanced technology starts with the built environment. “Comprehensive Wi-Fi and connectivity services are integrated into all our communities,” said Tod Petty, Executive Vice President of Lloyd Jones Senior Living. “We believe investment in senior technology will continue to grow, and we’ve built in flexible systems to be able to adapt to future discoveries and resident needs.”

Wearables and fall prevention

Falls are one of the most common causes of injury in older adults. And with brittle bones and the risk of broken hips ever present, a serious fall can have serious – sometimes fatal – consequences. According to Science Daily, each year, more than one in three people over 65 will experience a fall, and there’s growing evidence that wearables can help predict an individual’s risk of falling in order to put in place preventive measures. “We’re particularly excited about wearable technology that tracks subtle changes in an individual resident’s activities of daily living patterns (ADLs) that could lead to significant health issues,” said Petty. “This wearable solution monitors ADLs to learn each resident’s unique daily patterns and provides AI-driven, actionable insights that indicate fall risk, as well as interrupted sleep patterns, urinary tract infections, and the onset of depression.” These multi-function wearables also provide real-time location services (RTLS) that enables staff to know where the resident is at all times and respond quickly in an emergency.

Strength training solutions for active wellness

There’s an overwhelming body of scientific evidence that indicates physical activity is one of the greatest opportunities to extend years of active and independent life. The National Institute on Aging recommends that older adults should be active every day to maintain their health. According to the researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine, older adults who strength trained at least twice a week had 46% lower odds of death during the study’s 15-year period than those who did not. “At our Aviva active adult communities, we’ll be using fitness equipment designed for seniors that provides safe, targeted training for a range of ability and stamina levels,” said Petty. “The equipment uses smart technology to remember each resident’s progress and create personalized strength training programs that automatically increase resistance when milestones are reached.”

Community engagement

Technology can also help create a sense of “friends and family” connectivity. Each Aviva-branded active adult community has its own locally inserted channel that shows important information such as menus, event schedules, recent activity photos, and more as part of its private digital network. And, the daily schedule connects with Amazon Alexa to make community information readily available by voice to residents. “When tech seamlessly blends with design and human needs, that creates an inspired environment, one that is safer and more stimulating for adults to age in place.”

Chris Finlay, Founder, Chairman of Lloyd Jones, LLC, and Tod Petty, Executive Vice President of Lloyd Jones Senior Living, recently presented a webinar to members of FLAIA, an open access platform of alternative investments for institutions, wealth advisors, family offices, RIAs, and accredited investors.

Finlay, who has led the firm through four decades of economic cycles, and Petty, a 30-year veteran of the senior housing industry, offered their insights on the anticipated demographic changes in senior housing post COVID-19, and what opportunities lie ahead for investors.

In an overview of the current senior housing demographics, Finlay said, “We’re at the beginning of a ‘senior tsunami’,” as 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the U.S., and the 75+ population will double in the next two decades.” Yet despite the changing demographic landscape, “We have a massive shortage of appropriate housing for seniors to successfully age in place.”

Post COVID-19, seniors will feel the financial impact in myriad ways, according to Tod Petty. “Most of our older population will have reduced liquidity, and nearly half of consumers over 55 don’t have a retirement plan.” As a result, the high-rent, highly amenitized housing communities that dominate the senior housing landscape will continue to be out of reach for all but seniors in the top 10 percent income bracket.

With the demographic shift, and the growing demand for senior housing that includes health and wellness services, Lloyd Jones LLC sees the greatest opportunity for its investors in the middle- market senior housing sector. “Up until now, the middle market had a high barrier of entry due to the high construction costs of new builds,” said Petty. “But, the acquisition of distressed assets in highly desirable locations now presents new opportunities.”

In particular, the acquisition of distressed hotels and assets disposed of by national REIT organizations are the most attractive opportunities. According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), 8,000 hotels could close by September, and these acquisitions are trading at 75% plus below replacement cost. “By repurposing distressed hotels into middle-market senior living communities, the rents will be $500-$1,000 less than comparable new builds in the same market,” said Finlay. “These acquisitions offer lower risk, excellent returns and affordability.”

There is also a large inventory of distressed senior housing assets—typically assisted living or memory care facilities older than 20 years—that investors can acquire below replacement value. “REITs’ disposal of portfolio assets is attractive in a post-COVID world,” said Petty. “We’re able to develop a ‘new’ housing venue with lower than market rent, that will provide access to the 40 percent of seniors who aren’t able to pay the current rate offered by the resort-style models.”

“Lloyd Jones is poised to come out of the post COVID-19 economy very strong, with opportunities to grow even stronger,” said Finlay. “Our Aviva-branded portfolio will create new communities for active adults needing affordable, highly amenitized, life transitioning options to successfully age in place. For investors, Aviva active adult communities will have space for health and wellness programs and other amenities difficult to replicate in the current offerings in the senior housing space.”

Most people envision living out retirement years in a home with a paid off mortgage, or downsizing to buy a smaller home. In fact, close to 80 percent of people 65 and older own their own homes. However, a growing number of retirees are reimagining the traditional retirement model. Renter households over 60 have increased considerably—growing 43 percent over the past decade, outpacing owner households and growing faster than other age groups, according to RentCafe. For those retirees who decide they no longer need the space or the upkeep that comes with a large home, renting makes sense from both a financial and lifestyle perspective.

For retirees who decide to sell their home and move into an active adult or independent-living rental community, there are myriad financial benefits. Mortgage payments, property taxes, and ever-rising homeowners insurance rates are all eliminated, along with the sometimes unpredictable repair expenses that come with a larger home. By selling their home, seniors can use the equity to better manage their retirement financially, freeing up funds for investment, travel and future healthcare expenses.

Moving into a rental home or apartment also means fewer estate headaches. Children often disagree over what do with a parent’s house after their death: one might want to move in, while another may want to sell. And selling the family home can be an emotional and complicated process for heirs. The move to a rental community gives retirees an incentive to downsize, declutter and give away family heirlooms and other cherished possessions now, leaving fewer decisions for children and grandchildren to make later on.

Renting can also be a less costly, more convenient lifestyle, giving retirees the freedom to try out new towns, and move closer to children or grandchildren. With a rental home, all the maintenance chores—from lawn care to raking leaves to exterior painting—are now handled by the property management team. And of course, there are the amenities that many active-adult and independent-living complexes offer—from resort-style clubhouses and swimming pools to fitness centers, walking trails, and a full calendar of social events.

Retirees should think long-term when deciding to rent or own in retirement, and talk with their financial advisor to determine the best strategy. Weighing factors like the impact on retirement savings and spending, investment returns, and home appreciation will help determine the best course of action.

Lloyd Jones Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Chris Finlay, was a featured speaker at the “Outlook on Active Adult from the C-Suite” panel during Senior Housing News’ Active Adult Virtual Summit (July 15, 2020). Here are the key takeaways from his talk:

  • Finlay believes that an all-rental model holds untapped potential for developers and residents. As seniors age in place, with the addition a la carte services as needed and emerging technology, they’ll be able to enjoy an elevated quality of life for longer.
  • The rental model will also meet the growing demand of seniors who want to sell their home and retain equity to better manage their retirement financially.
  • To address this demand, Lloyd Jones offers its Aviva brand of active-adult living. Finlay introduced the three Aviva products.
    • Aviva Cottages are a for-lease cottage product which Finlay envisions will be especially popular with seniors in suburban markets making their initial transitions from single-family homes. These single-story cottages with attached garages will surround a resort-style clubhouse where events and activities abound.
    • Aviva 55 is a three- to four-story building, better suited to urban environments where lot sizes are smaller. This product is similar to a luxury apartment community but available solely to residents at least 55 years of age and will appeal to consumers looking for the lifestyle afforded by these locations.
    • Aviva Independent is a more traditional independent living product, with the first building set to break ground in Port St. Lucie, Florida later this year.
  • Active adult communities tend to be slow to lease-up (about six a month), but once occupancy levels reach stabilization, they tend to remain constant. In order to control operational costs in new construction during lease-up, Aviva Independent Port St. Lucie was designed to include two wings flanked by a central clubhouse, enabling Lloyd Jones to lease up one building while the other is under construction.
  • The industry average for how long seniors stay in an adult active community is five to seven years, but the average stay for residents in Lloyd Jones Senior Living communities is over ten years. Residents form close, lasting friendships, and with the addition of home healthcare services and future technology, they’ll be able to stay even longer.
  • Active adult represents the biggest real estate opportunity that Finlay has seen in his 40-year career, but it is also a challenging sector to enter. It requires correctly identifying the right markets to build active adult, deducing demographic trends for growth, and being ahead of the curve in terms of the services and technology that residents will need in order to comfortably age in place for the next five to ten years.

 

by Chris Finlay, Chairman and CEO, Lloyd Jones LLC and Lloyd Jones Senior Living

The hotel industry, which was already somewhat overbuilt, has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with phased reopening, occupancies and revenues are still at unprecedented lows.
The financial distress may be too great for hotels to overcome, and hotel owners are reviewing their portfolios to determine which hotels will require too much capital to carry them through the duration of the downturn. The potential wave of distressed hotels coming to market presents opportunities for conversion of select hotel properties into senior housing.

At Lloyd Jones, we believe that the acquisition of distressed hotels in the limited-service and full-service asset class hold the best opportunities for conversion into 55+ and independent living senior housing.

A limited-service hotel, which often includes amenities such as a pool and fitness center but lacks a full restaurant, is ideal for conversion to a 55+ age-restricted multifamily community. Full-service hotels, which often have those amenities plus a lounge, meeting space, and sit-down restaurant along with a commercial kitchen, are best suited for conversion into amenity-rich, independent-living communities.
We believe there is an opportunity to acquire distressed hotels at very attractive prices and repurpose them into senior housing. For investors in the senior housing sector, there are myriad benefits to adaptive reuse of hotels compared to building from the ground up.

Economies of cost

Rising land costs and scarcity of available land make it more difficult to find an ideally located site. With adaptive reuse, you have more flexibility to put the right community in the right place. In our experience, even with the cost to renovate the hotels, adaptive reuse is still less than 80 percent of the cost to build from the ground up.

Speed to market

To build a 55+ or independent-living community from the ground up can take approximately 18 months. Not to mention, with new construction comes higher risk, due to the longer permitting, approval, and building process. Lloyd Jones’ team of experienced senior living professionals plans to turn around adaptive reuse hotels for conversion within about nine months.

Competitive advantage

Because the cost to develop and repurpose an existing property is far less than constructing a new asset, rents can remain much more competitive. The traditional newly constructed senior-living community commands very high rents. In most cases, target demographics are limited to the top five percent of households in terms of income that live within a five-mile radius of the community. Hotel conversions become a more affordable option that broadens the demographic to, say, the top 25 percent of households.

From our perspective, adaptive reuse enables us to deliver a great quality environment for 55+ and independent living communities at a much better rent to the consumer, while also offering tremendous appeal to the investor: lower risk, lower cost, excellent return at a very competitive price. Overall, we believe the return will be as good or better than brand-new construction.

For more insights and the investment outlook on adaptive reuse in senior housing, contact Chris Finlay, Chairman and CEO, Lloyd Jones LLC and Lloyd Jones Senior Living.

My dad is a big man. He’s a big, 67-year-old man. And he fell in the shower. Mom called 911.

My parents live in a ubiquitous colonial-style, two-story home.  It’s an old home where they raised my brothers and me. It’s full of nooks and crannies and secret hiding places, but it’s also full of narrow hallways, steep staircases, and upstairs bedrooms.

Navigating the sharp angles and the precipitous staircase was a challenge for the EMTs, but they got Dad to the hospital where he was treated.  He’s now home, temporarily confined to a wheelchair – and the living room.

He can’t go up the stairs to his bedroom, or down to his beloved “man-cave” in the basement.  He’s in the living room where he spends his nights sleeping on a recliner. His wheelchair takes him to the kitchen, but he can’t reach the cupboards where Mom hides the cookies. He can’t even reach the light switches without a struggle. He’s not happy.

Time for a family conference. Is this just the beginning? What if this were not temporary?

It’s hard to imagine because my parents are active and healthy. Mom loves her tennis and lunch with her friends. Dad works out every day, runs half marathons, and enjoys an occasional beer with his buddies. But it’s something to think about.

As people age (and they will), stairs become more difficult to climb, doorknobs become harder to turn, and showers become slippery. Even for the most fit, home and yard maintenance can become overwhelming and even dangerous.

My parents love their home.  It’s full of memories; it’s close to neighbors. They intend to live here forever, to gracefully age in place. But let’s be realistic. Climbing stairs and ladders is not safe as people grow older.

Back to the family conference.  What should we do? Can we renovate the home to make it accessible and safe for the rest of their lives?  Should we encourage Mom and Dad to move to an active-adult senior community?

I ran across an article by Glenn Ruffenach in the Wall Street Journal entitled “How to Decide Whether To Move or Stay in Your House in Retirement.” Perfect. The article addresses the exact issues we are facing – and then some.

Homes can be remodeled and retrofitted, he says. But there’s more to consider than grab bars and first-floor bedrooms.

For instance, the expense.  It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to retrofit your home. Think if that is how you want to spend your retirement money.  He goes on to say that a home retrofitted specifically for senior living may not be attractive to younger families when it comes time to sell the home.

Next, he mentions transportation.  Mom and Dad live in the country, in a small town. They drive everywhere, to doctors’ appointments, to restaurants and shopping, to see friends. According to Mr. Ruffenach, the AAA has indicated that seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by seven to ten years. At some point, that might apply to my parents.  And frankly, I hope they do live that long, even without a driver’s license. But they could no longer live independently.

Thirdly, he mentions socialization. I read frequently about how important this is in seniors’ lives. In fact, isolation is a leading factor in the mortality rate. My parents are very social. They have lots of friends, and my brothers and I visit often. But what if they can’t drive to see their friends?

An active adult community would offer all the socialization and activities they could possibly want, albeit with new friends.  Either way, I suspect they will always remain socially active.

Finally, he hesitatingly mentions spouse and family. If one spouse dies, would the surviving spouse be better off in the current home or a senior community?  He warns that this is a very important decision to make sooner, rather than later. Whether you choose to renovate your home or to move, he says, make the decision while it’s still your decision to make.  If you fail to act while you are mentally and physically strong,  someone else will make the decision for you.

As much as my parents love my brothers and me, I know they want to be independent and make this decision themselves.  They probably have lots of time, but the 911 call scared me.

-The Oldest Daughter