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Perkins Eastman Releases State of Senior Living Survey: “An Industry in Transition”

March 27, 2017

Providers share five key issues that keep them up at night.

International design and architecture firm Perkins Eastman, an industry leader in the design and planning of residential and care environments for seniors, has announced the publication of its 2017 survey on the state of senior living: “An Industry in Transition.” For this, the third in a series of industry surveys conducted by Perkins Eastman Research, led by Associate and Senior Design Researcher Emily Chmielewski EDAC, nearly 200 respondents from mostly not-for-profit life plan communities share their expertise and insights on five key issues that “keep them up at night”: baby boomer expectations, healthcare reform, staff recruitment and retention, for-profit competitive growth, and the needs of middle-income residents.

Some of the respondents’ feedback for “An Industry in Transition” was recorded at the 2016 LeadingAge Conference in Indianapolis, conducted at Perkins Eastman’s exhibition booth, in which a random sampling of senior living providers—mostly from the not-for-profit sector—volunteered to answer an on-the-spot survey question about the key issues facing the industry.

Further survey results and feedback revealed that among the key focus areas being examined, staff recruitment and retention was the number one concern among respondents. On this topic, many of those surveyed expressed unease toward how wages significantly outpaced job empowerment, benefits, and/or training, while as many as one in three respondents cited recent improvements in recruitment and retention with the help of job role empowerment interventions. Boomer expectations and healthcare reform were close seconds in terms of respondents’ chief concerns for their respective communities and the industry at large going forward.

The first two State of Senior Living surveys conducted by Perkins Eastman Research were published in 2009 and 2010, in the immediate wake of the recession, and in 2015, which was sub-titled “An Industry Poised for Change.” The reason for the relatively brief turnaround time between the second and third surveys has to do with strategic alliances, in particular the expressed importance of partnering with healthcare providers. According to the survey’s authors, “Our 2015 survey saw a remarkable gap between the current alignment with healthcare systems (29 percent had no relationship) and their belief that an alignment was in the future (74 percent).

Models involving strategic alliance, partnerships and primary referrals all saw significant growth” during this time. As a rapidly aging Boomer population reevaluates its priorities going forward, and senior living models readjust to accommodate greater demand for everything from urban settings and intergenerational apartment environments to a la carte services for middle-income residents, the 2017 survey’s findings strongly indicate that strategic partnerships with healthcare systems is on the increase industry-wide.

“Given some of the shifts in concerns and priorities, we believe [this latest] survey does speak for an industry already in transition and not just poised for change.” “An Industry in Transition” is available for free download here.

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