Why Campus Expansions Make Sense

By | Baby Boomers, Local Market Dynamics, Retirement, Seniors | No Comments
Photo of building construction

One significant strategy for growth in the senior living industry can be and is occurring through the expansion of existing communities. There are several benefits to this approach. If enough land exists on a site this eliminates the need to find and acquire a new site which saves time and expense. In addition, it allows providers to take advantage of several other things including:

  • the value of their reputationthe opportunity to add elements that are not present such as expansion of wellness amenities and other programmatic spaces
  • creating new residential units which may be more responsive to current market preferences
  • the ability to meet the needs of their waiting list
  • reinforcing the perception that the community is thriving and interested in keeping current and vital to seniors

Many organizations are pursuing this strategy and more will undoubtedly do so in the near- term. An understanding of current local area market conditions is an element that is essential to successfully implementing this strategy.

Holiday Greetings

By | Baby Boomers, Local Market Dynamics, Retirement, Seniors | No Comments
Holiday Image of pine cone, pine needles and red berries

As we draw towards the end of the year, we want to share our best wishes to everyone for 2023. We know that 2022 was a year full of challenges as we slowly emerged from the pandemic. All of you providers have been heroes in the effort to help your residents and staff remain healthy and as optimistic as possible. We at Brecht Associates are looking forward to providing the excellent services that have been our hallmark for over 32 years. Whether it is a market study for a new development, an update for an existing community where you may be considering making some changes or expansion, or developing a satellite campus, we are here to help guide you with the market research needed for you to make informed decisions. For existing providers, we offer our lost prospect/recent mover surveys that have, over the years, resulted in valuable feedback for many organizations.
We look forward to working with you in 2023.

Why Prospects Don’t Select Your Community

By | Baby Boomers, Local Market Dynamics, Retirement, Seniors | No Comments
Elderly couple standing on brick sidewalk

For most senior housing communities, marketing is an ongoing process, even when occupancy levels are high. Since turnover requires that there is a pipeline, so to speak, of prospects who are in the market, it’s important to know why they consider your community but don’t eventually move in. There may be many different reasons ranging from another community was more to their liking to a decision not to move at all. And what might have made another community more appealing? This can be such things as having friends who already live there, the services and amenities were more to their liking, or something as practical as affordability. A negative might be that your location was just a bit too far from friends and relatives. But the only way to know what drove their decision is to ask. We have found that prospects, meaning someone who has actually visited your community, may be reluctant to answer these questions when a person in your marketing department asks them directly. Lost Prospect surveys conducted by an independent organization are likely to result in franker answers which provide you with potential actionable items that can enhance your marketability.

Are the Boomers Prepared For Retirement?

By | Baby Boomers, Financial Preparedness, Retirement, Seniors | No Comments
Two elderly couples giving the thumbs up.

By definition, the Baby Boomers (Boomers) are those born between 1946 and 1964, which means the youngest Boomer will turn 57 while the oldest will turn 75 (easy to remember, just reverse the numbers). This is a generation that contributed to trends such as both members of a married couple being in the workforce and working longer. There are more people age 65 who are still employed than any time since 2000. But to what extent is this trend a result of not only a desire to continue working, but a need as well? According to TransAmerica’s Center for Retirement Studies, Boomers have an average of $152,000 saved for retirement, not nearly enough for the years in which they will be retired, increasing the dependence on their Social Security benefits. Factors that have contributed to retirement income include the great recession of 2007-2008, and much more recently, the variability of the stock market’s performance and impact of Covid 19. But let’s examine the very concepts of retirement and being prepared. Not everyone actually is planning to withdraw from the working life at the traditional age of 65. Being “prepared” typically refers to financial circumstances when we think of “retirement”. However, one could argue that being prepared also includes finding ways to continue to make a contribution to the world around them without being financially compensated. I began thinking about this blog from the perspective of “financial preparedness”, but in pursuing the idea it may have evolved into something more interesting.

Why Active Adult?

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Active elderly adults golfing

On one of my morning walks along the Toms River I ran into a friend; one I often see when I am out getting my exercise. We stopped to chat, and he told me that he is moving to an active adult community, not far away. When I asked him why, here are some of the reasons he mentioned. First, he said that getting up and down steps was becoming more difficult for him. His current home requires that he use stairs just to get into his kitchen each day. He also pointed out that he lives alone and that as he ages, he wants to live somewhere that affords him the opportunity to make new friends who live just a few steps away. These struck me as affirmative reasons to make this move…ways in which he can improve the quality of his life both physically and socially. So, when I came back to the office (which, by the way, is in my home and looks out over the Toms River), I opened this month’s issue of Senior Housing Business and Matt Valley’s Editor’s Letter, right inside the front page, was titled” Active Adult Remains Investment Darling”, and mentioned that 34 percent of investors cite active adult as the biggest investment opportunity. So it appears that life quality and investment quality are merging in the Active Adult segment of the market.

A Poem by a Dear Friend

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My dear friend, Jean Billetter

I believe that music is a blessing I can hear. I believe that the time will never come when I am not filled with awesome wonder by the sun rising, the sun setting, the changing of the seasons, mighty mountains with peaks crowned by clouds. I believe that strong winds, lightning and thunder, sudden storms will always frighten and fascinate me.

I believe that I have an unending quantity of love that must be given unconditionally and with no restrictions or reservations. I believe that all life is a freely given gift, precious beyond measure, meant to be treasured, and treated with tenderness.

I believe that the better way to begin every day is with a prayerful petition for guidance and a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

I believe that my life has a purpose. I believe that what I say and don’t say matters. I believe that what I do and don’t do, what I think and don’t think matters. And I believe that if I am willing to try and live by what I believe, my Almighty God will make me more able. And finally, I believe that every beginning has an ending.

By Jean Billetter

Susan Brecht moderating The Impact of Market Studies on New Development at Interface Conference, November 2017

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The Interface Seniors Housing Northeast Conference, held in Philadelphia on November 8th, included a dynamic session called “Getting Good Data: The Impact of Market Studies on New Development and How Projects are Underwritten”. The panelists included Rob Schiller from LCB Senior Living, Lana Peck from the NIC, and two more institutional players, Brian Sunday from AEW and Zach Bowyer from CBRE Valuation & Advisory Services. I moderated the panel, frequently inserting my own thoughts on the various topics we addressed. Some of the takeaways from this panel included the following:

  • Penetration rates are predicted to climb as interest in moving to senior housing communities increases. The level of education of a market influences acceptable penetration rates.
  • Consumer research is an important element that complements market feasibility studies.
  • We need to be more proactive as an industry about promoting the value and benefit of moving to a senior housing option before people are too frail to enjoy the environment.
  • Some suggested building new communities in markets where there is a lot of old product.
  • There are opportunities in “B” markets where there is less competition.

This session was very well attended and the audience responded enthusiastically. If you would like to hear our entire session, please click play on the audio file above.

Helping Hands Across The Water

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Every July 4th weekend, Bob and I help out at the Feed the Need fundraiser at our area yacht club in Pine Beach, New Jersey. The event features a sailing regatta powered by local children who race each other down and back along the Toms River. Over one hundred little skippers take to the water that day from communities all over the area. Its lots of fun for so many reasons, not the least of which is that we raise a tremendous amount of money for the local food bank.

This year, I had the pleasure of manning the registration table with a lively 8 year old named Vivien who handed out the tee-shirts to all the sailors. Working alongside this smart and caring youngster all day long was at times funny and exhausting! I’m so glad I could keep up!

My intergenerational experience reminds me that we can and do work side by side with each other no matter what our age, especially in service to others. We may find it rewarding and sometimes challenging, but we are always ready to lend a hand when needed.

As we remember all those that served this country on this Independence Day, I say hoorah for all those seniors who continue to pitch in whether at home or in a retirement community and congratulate them on their vitality and desire to stay connected to others.

Welcome to the Inaugural Edition of Notes from a Boomer!

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Last month, I finished reading the book Americanah by a Nigerian author named Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It is an incredible story of a Nigerian woman who immigrates to America and becomes famous with her blog about Black Americans and Black Non-Americans. Her blog entries are all included in the book.

Of course, this made me think about our new website which has a blog. Our website designer asked the team to name the blog. We came up with many ideas for naming the Brecht blog. The names that really stood out contained the word “Boomer” because so much of what we do is does or will have an impact on Baby Boomers. And many of us are part of the Boomer generation.

The name we settled on was Notes from a Boomer. The name gives us latitude to write about various topics from the boomer point of view – like Don’t Call Me A Senior, Aging in Community vs. Aging in Place, What Boomers Look for in Housing Later in Life, etc.  We hope the emails and blog posts will be as fun and interesting for you as it will be for us to write.