How These Perks Drive Occupancy in Senior Living

driving occupancy ancillary
ancillary services driving occupancy

If you’re an assisted living provider that is currently struggling with occupancy, let it come as a relief that you’re far from alone.

Across the United States, assisted living occupancy fell to 87.6% in the fourth quarter of 2016 — its lowest level since early 2010, according to the latest data from the Annapolis, MD-based National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). This decline can be attributed first and foremost to a record number of new assisted living units opening to residents nationwide, according to NIC Chief Economist Beth Burnham Mace.

In fact, the fourth quarter of 2016 was the most active quarter in terms of senior living inventory growth since NIC began its data collection initiative in 2006. New inventory growth amounts to new competition for assisted living residents — and as more communities begin to compete for the same number of residents, occupancy numbers can start to suffer all around.

To combat this problem, or to avoid it completely, assisted living providers are increasingly turning to one solution that brings in revenue during down times: ancillary services.

The Power of Perks
In senior living, the term “ancillary services” refers to extra service offerings beyond standard senior living service offerings. To better outshine new or existing competition in their area, assisted living communities are offering these added services and perks to their residents — and hoping that their competition isn’t so innovative.

To be sure, ancillary services like home health care, rehabilitation and hospice care remain some of the most common provided in senior living, according to Argentum COO and Senior Vice President for Public Policy Maribeth Bersani. But other assisted living communities are thinking beyond these three service offerings, and it’s working out well for their occupancy numbers and for their bottom line.

Here are some of the more unique “perks” assisted living communities are offering to residents in-house, according to Senior Housing News:

Massage therapy
Massages can be relaxing, luxurious and often even more appreciated as residents get older.

Salons
Manicures, haircuts, highlights and pedicures aren’t just for the young. Neither are facials! And you know what they say… when you look good, you feel good.

Extra housekeeping 
Who doesn’t want a little extra help cleaning up around the house? As residents get older, this becomes a welcome opportunity.

Dentistry
When a dentist comes to a community, it’s even harder to make excuses to avoid a teeth cleaning. And according to Mayo Clinic, oral health is a window to a person’s overall health.

Acupuncture
Acupuncture can be a great resource for residents who believe in its pain-reducing properties.  

Ancillary services like these not only have the potential to draw prospective residents who want to be able to receive all of their services from the comfort of home — they also have the potential to help keep existing assisted living residents happy, healthy, and living in the community for longer periods of time.

That’s absolutely key, according to Juniper Communities founder and President, Lynn Katzmann.

After all, healthier residents experience longer lengths of stay, and length of stay directly affects a provider’s return on investment, Katzmann said at the 2016 PointClickCare SUMMIT in Orlando, FL. So, if a community’s occupancy is struggling, at least new revenue sources are helping to make up for it.

In times like these, it’s important to consider ancillary services and what they could do for your residents and your bottom line.

Read More: Creating a Competitive Edge with Ancillary Services
Is Value-Based Care Here to Stay?

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