Mature Market Experts Gem of The Day: New Housing Trend

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Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often – New Housing Trend – It wasn’t too long ago that I blogged about the return to the intergenerational household. The number of parents moving in with their kids is jumping dramatically. In fact, the trend is playing out at the highest level. Did anyone else’s catch the none-too-subtle Inauguration Day mentions that Marian Robinson, the 71-year old mother of first lady Michelle Obama, would be moving to the White House to look after her grandchildren (I hope our client, GRAND magazine, covers this story)? This trend has huge implications.

To me the movement makes sense on multiple levels:

1.      Baby Boomers have a distain for institutional living that does not match their vision of where their parents should be living. They will continue to look for improvements in what most consider to be an unacceptable warehousing (assisted living and nursing care) of their parents . . . with an eye towards making improvements for their own future

2.      After taking their kids back into their homes, Boomers have grown comfortable with extended living. Now that the kids have moved out, the parents are moving in

3.      The economics of intergenerational living combined with today’s economy create a condition where this just makes sense. We are entering an age of frugality (from an economic and environmental standpoint)

In short, just as it is playing out at the White House, Americans are discovering there are benefits to this symbiotic relationship.

At TR Mann Consulting we’re coaching our clients to think about some of these important trends and how they might adopt their businesses. What are some of the implications you see to this trend? In your opinion, how will it effect real estate? Consumer products?

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Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: New Nursing Home Rating System

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Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often: New Nursing Home Rating System –“About 22 percent of the nation’s nearly 16,000 nursing homes received the federal government’s lowest rating in a new 5-star system unveiled Thursday, while 12 percent received the highest ranking possible.”

Source: MSNBC.com

Mature Market Tip: Start Saving Now – Assisted Living Crunch Predicted

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The mature market . . .  boomers . . . seniors, we write about them every day. Why? Because Americans are getting older – in fact, way older. We are on our way to a profound shift in our population; one which will have costly impacts on our nation. The U.S. Census Bureau projects  that by 2030, when all of the nation’s 76 million surviving baby boomers will be 65 and older, nearly one in five U.S. residents will be 65 and older. This age group is projected to double by 2050, increasing to 88.5 million from the 38.7 million we currently have in 2008. The Census Bureau projects that the 85 and older population growth will be even bigger, tripling from 5.4 million in 2008 to 19 million in 2050.

On the one hand it is pretty clear that there will soon be a lot of older Americans. So the next question is, how many of them will require assistance, and what type? Lest you think the impact will be small, consider this comment from the Dartmouth geriatrician, Dr. Dennis McCullough: “…nine out of ten people who live into their 80’s will wind up unable to take care of themselves, either because of frailty or dementia.” According to Dr. McCullough, “Everyone thinks they will be the lucky one, but we can’t go along with that myth.”

The International Longevity Center’s Caregiving Project for Older Americans is very concerned that older Americans are not doing enough planning now. The Center estimates that about 1.4 million older Americans currently live in nursing homes, nearly 6 million receive care at home, and significant numbers go completely without needed help. They report that “…the growing disparity between the demand and supply of care giving services will only worsen with the aging of baby boomers in this country.”

The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information says that “…at least 70 percent of people over age 65 will require some long-term care services at some point in their lives, and over 40 percent will need care in a nursing home for some period of time.”The Clearinghouse cautions that contrary to most people’s opinions, “Medicare and private health insurance programs do not pay for the majority of long-term care services that most people need – help with personal care such as dressing or using the bathroom independently.”

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out that the coming demographic tsunami will overwhelm our assisted living, independent living, home care, and nursing homes infrastructures. Currently most assisted living facilities in this country report occupancy rates at 90% or higher. The New York Times reported recently that after several years of overbuilding followed by soft markets, “The National Investment Center found fewer than 23,000 units under construction in the 100 biggest metropolitan areas.” If you take an arbitrary average about 1.5 persons per unit, our future residential shortfall looks to be severe.

In another New York Times article Kathryn A. Sweeney, a managing director for United States Senior Housing for GPT Group, an Australian real estate company, was quoted in a similar vein about the eventual housing shortage: “If you plan to be a resident, you need to be saving your pennies now,” she said.”

About the Author: John Brady is publisher of www.Topeldercares.com.  Visitors to that site will find a directory of eldercare facilities, a Forum, and helpful articles on dealing with eldercare.

What Happened to Good Nutrition?

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For the mature market living in an assisted living community, maintaining good nutrition is one of the most important ways to insure a long and healthy life. Food, for better or for worse, is the fuel we run on. Just like vehicles, bad fuel can cause us many expensive and troublesome problems, especially as we age. Unfortunately, even with this knowledge, nutrition inside many assisted living communities can be more of an afterthought than a norm.  Assisted living communities are not federally regulated so each state develops its own regulations and this can be challenging when choosing a new home. Nutrition, foodservice, and sanitation guidelines can vary widely across the country.

Educating yourself on senior nutrition guidelines, coordinating with doctors and creating good communication with the staff, both on the floor and in the kitchen, is key. It is necessary to ask the administration for specific information, such as:

  • Does the facility have a full time dietician who is certified in proper nutrition and special dietary needs?
  • Also, does the facility offer residents ongoing nutritional education so they can be involved in their own health regime? Nutritional knowledge changes as we age, so assisted living communities should be teaching updated nutrition to their residents.


As a family caregiver, you are responsible for developing a proactive plan and checklist of personal nutrition requirements to help your loved one avoid problems later. In other words, set your expectations and ask many questions. For instance:

  • Is the community actively involved in determining and planning for each individual resident’s nutritional needs?
  • Will the dietician sit down with you and plan a course of healthy action in regards to your loved one’s nutritional and caloric needs?
  • Does the community welcome unannounced visits to the kitchen? Those kitchens that have the highest of food quality and cleanliness standards will be happy to show you the kitchen – at least when it is not in the middle of a meal rush.

Ask questions about commonly overlooked topics like:

  • When are meals served and is this a regular schedule?
  • What happens if a meal is skipped by a resident for any reason?
  • If a resident needed assistance at mealtime, who is available to help them?
  • Can the facility accommodate special needs diets like vegetarian, salt-free, kosher, etc?
  • Are residents given access to healthy foods and snacks? Take a look at the menus and check that they are being followed.
  • Eating fast foods and highly processed foods leads to excessive intakes of fat and cholesterol, obesity, higher intakes of sodium and insufficient vitamins and minerals. How much processed foods are in the daily menu? 
  • Asking questions about food safety practices like sanitation may be the last thing on your mind when you are considering an assisted living home but because of the dangers of food contaminations it shouldn’t be. The elderly have a much higher risk of having a fatal reaction to food contaminants and food-born illnesses than the general population. Asking how and where the food is prepared along with how they transport and ensure temperature control during delivery are all valid questions to ask assisted living staff

Here are a few more simple steps to make certain your loved one is receiving and eating properly prepared and nutritious foods.

  • Is the assisted living facility providing low-fat healthy choices?
  • Do they present dishes that are visually colorful, full of aroma and tempting in flavors so that the residents want to consume them?
  • Are they consistently including heart healthy and high fiber dietary alternatives?
  • Are beverages provided on a constant basis? Being hydrated and consuming more fiber helps to create regularity and prevents bowel impactions and serious health issues like the breaking down of skin.
  • Are liquid dietary supplements available for those that are unable to eat hard food?
  • To help assist you with a guide to what and how much of any item you or your loved one should consume visit the USDA’s website, MyPyramid.gov. The site includes personalized eating plans along with interactive tools.

     

     

     

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bridging the Generations

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It has always fascinated me how children in schools are taught history, but have never really met face-to-face with those who experienced or contributed to it. Much of the older generation (80+) has not been exposed to modern technology, such as computers, cell phones or  iPods. They remember the old Victrola, entertainment through radio, the milkman delivering products, and the terrible depression we’ve only heard about on the news.

I thought it would be a great idea to somehow bring the two generations together.

The seniors would learn about life, the way it is for the children of today. And the children would learn about what life was like when the seniors were growing up 80-100 years ago.

About four years ago, I started the Bridging the Generations program with the local schools in my city. I’ve worked with several teachers on an ongoing basis over the years to bring the two generations together.

The children came to Oak Park to “Meet and Greet” my residents for the first visit. They were paired up with the residents, and prepared to ask questions and listen to the wonderful stories the residents had to tell. They children were amazed! “Wow, you rode in a horse and buggy to school? “, one child asked.

They kids began to look at the residents as individuals. Often times, children are afraid of seniors and view them as old, frail and vulnerable. This program really brings them inside the lives of seniors. They begin to see that aging is something to look forward to, not something to be afraid of.  It is a part of life that we all experience. It’s what you make of it that counts.

The next visit I have with the children is when I bring my residents into their high school. The children cook and serve breakfast to my residents. Last year, East Ridge High School students cooked a huge Thanksgiving dinner for the residents. The student band came in and played for them.  And the drama club, which consisted of the students that are in our program, performed a musical for them. The residents spent time listening to the students read speeches on what they were thankful for, and the students listened intently to what the seniors were thankful for.

The seniors saw first hand the art of text messaging, clothing that wasn’t tailored and multiple piercings. At first, I think they were shocked as to why a mother would let their children go out looking like that!

As the students sat down with my residents, the residents began to look past their outer appearance. They began to have a deep appreciation for the students and understood it was a struggle for independence. The residents gave the kids advice about the importance of education, following their dreams and to not judge a book by its cover. High school kids usually don’t listen to adults.  But for some reason, the children listened to the seniors.

The students learned firsthand about segregation.  They learned it both from seniors who had to be at the back of the bus, and from the ones that could only play with friends who were white. The students were amazed that segregation was really a part of history. It was a very moving experience for both generations.

The relationship between the residents and the students is continuing to grow. We are involved with them once a week and many other times during the month.  New schools continually want to be a part of this program. The kids also come and visit my residents all the time outside of school. They bake for them, pen-pal with them and come to all of our dances.

The hugs and kisses are never ending.

My residents’ faces light up when they see the kids. And the kids cannot run fast enough through the door to hug and kiss my residents. This program will continue for years to come for a simple reason: as much as the kids brighten the residents’ days, the residents have enriched the lives of the children in the very same way. It is very important for children to step back in time and learn about life before the comforts of today. We want to teach them to not be afraid of growing old but to appreciate the lessons they’ve learned.  We want them to understand that life as we know it now was pioneered by those who lived before us.

It is our responsibility to teach children to respect and appreciate the elderly, and I will continue to do my part to bring the generations together.

About the Author: Terri Glimcher is a Contributing Writer at Inside Assisted Living and the Activity Director for Summerville at Oak Park Assisted Living, an Emeritus Senior Living property in Clermont, Florida.

Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Occupancy Rates

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How badly is the current housing market hurting the mature market’s opportunity to move into a retirement community, assisted living, or nursing care? According to a New York Times article, “Across the country, occupancy rates for independent and assisted-living facilities have fallen slightly in the last year, by about 2 percent through the middle of 2008, according to the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing and Care Industry.

But the problem is playing out acutely in hard-hit areas like Florida, where the vacancy rate at some facilities is up 20 percent to 30 percent over last year, said Paul Williams, director of government relations for the Assisted Living Federation of America. At Luther Manor, a retiree community in Milwaukee, the number of residents moving into independent living has dropped 20 percent this year. In southern Ohio, 65 percent of the people who visited the Bristol Village retirement community this year said they could not buy a unit because their homes were still hanging around their necks.”

Source: NY Times

How are people responding? Boomers and mature market are looking at  products that can help them stay in their homes (video: The Today Show) . . . and for people in need of assisted living and nursing care, adult day care is rapidly becoming the stop gap answer. If only companies understood how to market these products . . . they would be selling the heck out of them.

 

 

 

A Share of Sunrise for 4 Bits?

What are we supposed to make of this Mature Market Experts?   What is arguably (forgive me, Erickson) the most dominate brand in senior housing is trading at less than 50 cents a share as of this writing.  That same share was trading north of $26 on the first trading day of this calendar year.

                For a bit of perspective on how Sunrise might emerge from these straits, I recommend long time industry analyst and skillful writer Steve Monroe’s blog www.levinassociates.com/dealmakersforum/dealmakers%20blog.htm.

                As a marketer, here is what I take away:

1.  Aging continues, as far as I can tell.  Although with all of the news being financial, it is possible someone has found a way to prevent it and the media hasn’t picked up on it yet.

2.  With aging, comes change.  I’d argue that a retiree experiences more change in a shorter period of time than any other age group, save perhaps infants to 3 year olds.

3.  These changes create specialized needs for a constellation of products and services.

4.  Unfortunately, most of the changes aging brings are negative – can’t drive at night, lost a spouse or a friend, grandkids are off to college, a health issue …

5.  We work for companies that provide services and products to meet the needs these changes create.

6.  Being in marketing, we are responsible for half of the most critical financial equation in the financial world – revenue.  Bringing in more revenue than expenses still carries the day.

 7.  Inspiring people to purchase your company’s products and services is, in most instances, a noble pursuit.  You improve people’s lives. 

                Now is the time to market like hell — write stronger copy … fight for that marketing budget … attend to the myriad of details … establish stronger relationships with prospects … dig deeper into that database … do more and do better.

                All in the name of inspiring more people to buy than ever before.  The times demand that we deliver extraordinary results for our customers, our companies, and ourselves. 

                That’s my two cents.  Add another 48 and you too can attend Sunrise’s next annual meeting.