A Community Without Walls

We are seeing a growing trend in the senior living industry where operators are beginning to extend their reach into the communities they serve.  This is not the traditional community that is often associated to a physical property. Instead, these operators are creating a community-based offering by extending services to the surrounding areas.

While this idea seems obvious to most, it certainly introduces a few unknown variables that warrant consideration. We would like to discuss the value of taking on such an initiative along with the challenges that can be expected, and some tips that have helped serve our clients.

Value - There are number of notable reasons to take on a community-based offering.  

  1. It creates an entirely new revenue stream for the business.  

  2. A new program offers a unique and compelling value proposition that will provide a competitive edge.

  3. A community-based offering assists in alleviating any preconceived misconceptions related to independent or assisted living, i.e. I'm not moving into a nursing home.

  4. The dialogue with the community inherently creates a natural sales funnel.

  5. Lower acuity levels generally result in attracting residents sooner than traditional methods.

  6. A community-based offering creates a truly sustainable environment where all individuals have personalized options to address specific needs.

Challenges - It is important to be aware of the three biggest problems most operators face.

  1. Skillset: Make sure your designated leader has product development experience.  Specifically, they need to understand all aspects beginning with design through deployment.

  2. Capacity: The team that supports the direct efforts to launch the community-based offering must allocate a minimum of 30-40% of their time to the cause.  Anything less will delay results and ultimately dilute the value.

  3. Economics: This seems easy, yet this is one effort that is often overlooked.  Be sure your team factors all critical elements including utilization requirements on existing resources.

So what does Beatha Group suggest?  First, do your homework.  Every community is different. Thus, you will need to fully understand what is important to each individual community.  Complete a formal market study that includes focus groups, and collect empirical data that is used to objectively shape your program. Next, it is incredibly important to establish a project charter that clearly outlines your objectives, resource requirements, and financial implications.  Finally, don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Start small with a pilot program that implements key project ingredients at a reduced scope.

We hope this provides some insight into what you can expect when tackling a new community-based offering. As always, let us know what you think.  We are interested to hear what has worked for you if your organization has taken on a similar initiative. Please share any insight or lessons learned that you feel would help the Beatha community.