Always Thinking
The Leaders' Board C-Level Insights for Senior Living

Blog Posts

2018 International Builders Show: Smart Home Technology Takes a Massive Jump Forward

By Rob Love, President, CEO

In January of 2017, I visited the International Builders Show in Orlando and was impressed by how far smart home technology had progressed. As one presenter noted, Amazon’s Alexa had become “the gateway drug to smart home technology.” So, as I headed to the 2018 Builders Show this January, I was curious to see how far things had come in the past year. The answer was both exciting and nearly overwhelming: Nearly everything is now “smart.”

  • In 2017, there was a model smart home you could tour that showcased examples of technology. In 2018, there was no smart home, as the technology was everywhere. There were scores of companies promoting smart lighting, appliances, home security systems, home comfort and more.
  • In 2017, Nest was a thermostat maker. In 2018, Nest is a home security company offering a broad range of products.
  • In 2017, Ring was a video doorbell maker. In 2018, Ring is also a full-service home security company.

Why such tremendous growth? Again, Alexa and other smart speakers paved the way.

  • In 2016, there were approximately six million smart speakers sold, of which 90+% were Amazon Echoes (Alexa).
  • In 2017, approximately 33 million smart speakers were sold, more than five-fold growth over 2016. While the Echo was still the dominant product, Google made major inroads, capturing about 25% of the market with its Google Home line of products.
  • In 2018, sales are projected to increase to more than 56 million speakers, with Apple just releasing its new HomePod on February 9.

Smart home technology is also becoming a key differentiator in home sales, both for new and existing homes.

  • Active adult community (55+) builders noted that they are integrating smart home technology into the basic design of their homes to differentiate their homes from “used homes” (as the presenters referred to them).
  • Coldwell Banker is providing its agents with $900 smart home kits to turn their listings into smart homes, again providing a competitive advantage.

Read More

What To Consider When Evaluating CRMs

By Susan Dolton, Vice President of Sales Services

Many marketing directors of Life Plan Communities are starting to panic. Matrixcare has announced that their support of REPs will cease in June 2018. REPs has been the industry standard so this announcement has left many wondering what to do.

Spoiler alert – this is not a review of customer relationship management programs (CRMs) specific to the senior living industry. Rather, we will offer some highlights of each, specific features and benefits that you should consider, as well as some criteria to use when doing your own evaluation.

Know this: if you like the look and feel of REPs and want the world to stay the same, get over it. Every product out there, including Matrixcare’s REPs replacement, Matrixcare Marketing, has improved features that will lead to higher productivity and more accurate reporting.

You might not even know you need some of the new features now available. For example, Continuum CRM is integrated with Microsoft Office in a way that allows the user to autofill fields in document templates. In other words, the days of filling in each field on Residence Agreements and Deposit Agreements is over. By pre-loading documents, all fields in required documents can be automatically filled with depositor/resident information. Of course, this also means all pertinent documents are saved in the depositor’s record. Imagine the time that will save!

Read More

Prepare Your Community NOW to Be Competitive in 10 Years

Presented by:
Chris Carruthers, Vice President, Health Services Marketing, Love & Company
Christopher Tomlin, President, CEO & CFO, Methodist Homes of Alabama and Northwest Florida

Session Narrative

Join us for this webinar, as Chris Carruthers from Love & Company talks with Christopher Tomlin, CEO of Methodist Homes of Alabama & Northwest Florida. Together, they’ll explore the process Love & Company took to transform Fair Haven, a dated, 55-year old community, into a stunning community prepared for the future.

>>Sign up for our enewsletter today and get more helpful insights!<<

RSVP for our upcoming webinars

Creating Excellence in Dining on a Tight Budget

By RonnDa Peters, Vice President, Marketing & Sales at Strategic Dining Services

“How do we create an environment of dining excellence when our budget is already tight?”

Is this the conversation happening in your community? This topic brings up a couple additional questions and thoughts that add to the conversation and outcome…

“Dining is one of the largest operations and expense departments in most communities. It is essential that leaders who have been selected to run these departments have the skills and equipment to master the numbers as well as the Coq au Vin,” states David Koelling, President of Strategic Dining Services.

If the dining teams are not currently involved in creating their budgets, they should be; creating ownership begins with some say in the process. At the very least, they should be the first to receive and sign off on the dining budget as soon as it is finalized.

At this point in time (Q-1) the budgets have been established, so we return to the question at hand – how to create an environment of excellence when the budget seems tight. The decision for the budget was, consciously or unconsciously, a quality decision. The task at hand is to create the best menus and present the menu items with excellence in mind. By developing a more mindful approach of how you serve residents, the result can be a dining program that stays in budget and improves quality.

Below are a few suggestions to start with in the area of department management:

Read More

Three Steps to Harnessing Brand Advocates for your Senior Living Community

By Wallis Shamieh, Content Marketing Specialist

The internet has changed much of the way consumers do their shopping. They are no longer making purchase decisions just from seeing or hearing an advertisement, either online, in the newspaper, or on the radio. With limitless information available on the internet, consumers are comparing, researching and reading online before they decide to even give you a call.

Especially in an environment where ads are over-saturated and the use of ad blockers continues to be prevalent, it’s becoming increasingly important to harness digital, word-of-mouth brand advocates for your senior living community as part of your marketing strategy. Word-of-mouth has always been a powerful form of communication, and in the age of the internet, it is significantly amplified.

Brand Advocates

When you think of digital brand advocates, you probably think of influencers like news and media outlets, bloggers, vloggers and social media stars. While these forms of brand advocates may work well for many industries, when it comes to senior living, the most effective brand advocates you have are your residents, their families, staff members, and even other prospects. These are the people who know your community the best and are most likely to have a positive message to share.

Read More

Six Senior Living Trends for 2018 and Beyond

By Tom Mann, Principal, Executive Vice President

If you are a regular reader of The Leaders’ Board, you’ve had the opportunity to read predictions of some of the brightest minds in senior living. Now, it’s my turn.

Last year, I wrote a well-received white paper titled Senior Housing Trends, which covered key senior living trends on demographics, prospect expectations, technology, transportation, nanotechnology and more. Interestingly, all of the trends I wrote about have and continue to play out as I predicted, which can only mean one thing: I played it too safe.

This year, I plan on stepping out a little further on the branch with six bold predictions.

1.) Offering truly varied food options will become the number one driver of success for early adopter retirement communities.

“You say you want a revolution!” More than two and a half million boomers (including Paul McCartney, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Martina Navratilova) now identify as vegetarians, and that number is rapidly growing thanks to the Boomer generation’s desire to ward off chronic conditions and consume in an environmentally responsible way.

Read More

The Top Three Ways Tax Reform Will Impact Your Next Financing

By Aaron Rulnick, Managing Principal and Kerry Moynihan, Director of Organizational Development, HJ Sims

It’s officially 2018 and change is in the air. Iceland has enacted the world’s first equal pay law, Oregonians are now allowed to occasionally pump their own gas, and this little thing called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is in effect. First initiated by the House on November 2, and culminating with the President enacting it into law on December 22, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the first major tax overhaul since the 1986 Tax Reform Act.

Beyond the ways the Act will impact each of us personally, the changes to the rules have far-reaching implications for not-for-profit Senior Living communities and how they access the capital markets. While the first version issued by the U. S. House of Representatives blindsided the municipal market with the suggested elimination of Private Activity Bonds, which would have eliminated the tax-exempt financing benefit for all 501c3 organizations, this key financing vehicle was ultimately maintained. Unfortunately, advance refunding and tax credit bonds weren’t so lucky.

While the year is still young and the market is still responding to a “new normal,” here are three immediate ways we at HJ Sims are experiencing the implications of these new rules and what you, as key decision makers for your communities, need to know:

1.) Advance refundings are now a thing of the past.

The logic behind eliminating this allowance is understandable from a federal revenue standpoint: When two sets of tax-exempt bonds are outstanding during an escrow period, the federal government is, in effect, doubling its tax subsidy.

Read More

The Future is Here – And What We Need For Our Communities To Win

By Dr. Jacquelyn Kung, CEO of Activated Insights

Our Competitor Is Fueling Up…2018 is the Year

Dr. Jacquelyn Kung, CEO of Activated Insights

Staying at home has long been our industry’s main competitor. The average age of our residents has jumped up, thanks largely to the blossoming of non medical home care agencies which enable safe aging in place…at home.

Well, in case you missed the news: 2018 is the year of transformation in our industry.

What we mean is this: a huge enabler of aging at home is driving and this year it’s getting easier. Many industry experts have cited self-driving cars as a bigger threat to the senior housing industry than most other innovations.

And, guess what? The future of aging-at-home is here. It’s first arriving in Phoenix. Since it’s funded by Google, this future will spread FAST.

Read More

2018 Predictions from Continuing Care Actuaries

By Brad Paulis, A.S.A., F.C.A., M.A.A.A., Partner at Continuing Care Actuaries

Written by Brad Paulis, A.S.A., F.C.A., M.A.A.A.

1.) Increased Demand

The number of seniors leaving their homes and moving into Senior Housing will continue to increase as the demographics are just starting to overwhelm the industry. The oldest baby boomers are now in their early 70’s and starting to consider senior housing. Are you prepared for the increased demand and can you capture it?

2.) Expansion of the @Home Concept

With the number of seniors dramatically increasing, services for those who desire to stay in their home will also need to increase. There is a significant increase in the number of communities exploring at Home Programs. Expect exponential growth in this market segment.

Read More

BB&T Capital Markets’ Predictions for 2018

By Roger E. Randall, II, Senior Vice President of BB&T Capital Markets

For-profit providers will continue developing rental communities – market fundamentals support it.

Roger E. Randall, II
Senior Vice President
BB&T Capital Markets

Non-profit organizations have long been the dominant provider of senior care in Life Plan Communities. Because of the Lifecare pricing model (large one-time entrance fee plus an ongoing monthly service fee), they are only affordable to (roughly) the top 25% of local residents who have both the assets and income to afford entry. The other 75% of the senior population has to look elsewhere for the care they need.

Rental communities offer an alternative, particularly for people with few net assets (life-long renters, as we will see). For-profit organizations (whether family-owned or publicly held) tend to avoid the full continuum, providing care in stand-alone communities offering one level of care or possibly Independent and Assisted Living on one campus, through a rental-pricing model.

According to a report by The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, entitled “Projections & Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Households 2015-2035,” as the population of this country continues to age, we will see the highest growth occur in the low income and middle market income levels. People tend to vote with their checkbooks so we will continue to see for-profit rental communities enter markets traditionally served by non-profit senior living providers.

Read More

11 Home Visit Tips to Boost Your Assisted Living Census

By Chris Carruthers, Vice President, Health Services Marketing

Let’s start by affirming a trend in assisted living that we are all seeing. People are staying in their homes longer, sometimes with services, instead of moving to assisted living.

Traditionally, admissions counselors focused on how to help seniors acknowledge the benefits and overcome barriers to a move. Instead, I challenge you to think of the home visit as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with the senior and to have a casual conversation about their lifestyle.

What you do with that information will be key in securing that move in. For example, just knowing the size of their home and their lifestyle can help you suggest ideas on downsizing and transitioning. Now you are seen as their new support system, instead of someone trying to “sell” them something.

The importance of home visits

Read More

Special Announcement: Market Intelligence Expertise Expands in 2018 Through Hire of Karen Adams

One of the most highly experienced researchers in the field, Karen Adams brings more top tier talent to the firm.

Karen Adams, Vice President of Marketing IntelligenceKaren Adams, Vice President of Market Intelligence

Love & Company is excited to announce that we have expanded our Market Intelligence expertise through the hire of Karen Adams, a senior living marketing specialist with more than 35 years of experience in the field. As of January 15, Karen is the Vice President of Market Intelligence.

“Love & Company has developed a strong Market Intelligence team, and I am looking forward to bringing my national network and expertise to the table,” says Karen. “I’m looking forward to working with Love & Company’s already solid team of market analysts as well as with their expert sales services team, to even further access the consumer and their current and emerging needs and desires.”

Our Market Intelligence services encompass market studies, consumer research, competitive analyses, and pricing analyses, and helps communities develop and implement data-based plans that will enable them to be successful both today and well into the future.

Read More

Posts Navigation

Read Our Blog

Get the latest insights on senior living.

View Blog


We're always looking for the best and brightest.

Apply Today

Let's Talk

To find out more about how we can help your organization grow and prosper, please call 240-575-5596.

Contact Us


Sign up to be the first to get the latest news, research, events, speaking engagements and webinars.

Back to Top