• Nancy Griffin

Delos Launches WISE Initiative with Leading Senior Living Investment Firms

Wellness Innovation in Senior Environments initiative will provide a trusted source of science-backed information to support operational and investment decisions that continue to raise health and wellness standards for senior living residents and staff.


Delos, a leader in science-backed solutions for healthier indoor spaces, has launched the WISE initiative — Wellness Innovation in Senior Environments — combining its expertise in healthy buildings with insights from leaders in the senior living industry to further health and well-being. The WISE initiative is a collaborative effort that expands upon a research partnership in late 2021 with Harrison Street, a leading investment management firm exclusively focused on alternative real assets, which includes senior living. The initiative will focus on different aspects of the senior living industry to advance scientific research, education and innovation that will help meet the growing consumer demand for communities that offer safer, healthier environments for residents and staff.

In addition to Harrison Street, an inaugural participant in WISE includes Sabra, a healthcare real estate investment trust with significant investments in senior housing and skilled nursing communities. Current and future collaborators will join Delos in assessing, proposing and supporting research from different perspectives based on their expertise within the senior living sector.

WISE will focus on scientific research, education initiatives and solutions for healthier, safer senior living communities. Collaborators will participate in research conducted by the Well Living Lab, founded as a collaboration between Delos and Mayo Clinic and the first scientific laboratory in the world dedicated to studying the impact of indoor environments on human health and well-being.

We know from extensive research that older adults are particularly susceptible to health risks associated with indoor environmental hazards, such as poor air quality,” said Peter Scialla, President and Chief Operating Officer of Delos. “We also know indoor elements, such as optimal lighting, can improve cognitive function and may help with disturbed sleep for people with dementia. We created WISE as a forum to explore healthier indoor environments for seniors in collaboration with top industry leaders who are committed to drive positive change."

The goal of WISE is to identify and encourage implementation of innovative approaches that will enhance senior health and well-being. The current research agenda includes in-field studies that will be conducted in senior living communities including:

  • Harrison Street: The first of several studies will initially investigate ways in which circadian lighting can improve health and cognitive function of older adults in senior living communities.

  • Sabra: Investigate how to improve skilled nursing facility (SNF) indoor air quality via portable air filtration. A second phase aims to examine how building improvements may reduce SNF employee stress and burnout and potentially lower incidence of resident falls while improving cognitive health.

Healthy aging is gaining increasing importance as people worldwide live longer; however, many scientific questions related to aging remain unanswered. The Well Living Lab has established a research program to generate insights and science-based solutions to help optimize health and well-being in seniors. Collaborations with industry leaders such as Harrison Street and Sabra mark the beginning of a broader initiative to conduct studies that can be applied to enhance the quality of life for older adults.

Understanding how elements of the indoor environment impact residents’ health will provide actionable insights and strategies in designing and operating communities that support enhanced wellness for our seniors,” said Jill Brosig, Chief Impact Officer for Harrison Street. “We have been a Well Living Lab Alliance member since 2019 and are excited to be part of the WISE initiative to build on the research we have already embarked on with Delos and Mayo Clinic.”

The WISE initiative is fully aligned with Sabra’s strategy of investing in assets that embody the most forward-thinking approaches,” said Rick Matros, Chief Executive Officer of Sabra. “We believe what happens inside our buildings is what matters the most and continuously seek out innovative solutions that improve the lives and experiences of our operators.”

The Well Living Lab broke new ground with our study about how portable air filtration can improve air quality and lower the risks of viral transmission in a simulated classroom environment. Now, we are extending that investigation into senior living environments,” said Barbara Spurrier, Executive Director of the Well Living Lab. "By conducting field studies with these outstanding industry leaders, we hope to further advance our understanding of how to help improve the health and well-being for older adults related to air quality, lighting and cognitive health.”

The launch of WISE comes amid seismic changes in the senior living industry. The median age of the U.S. population has steadily increased over the last two decades. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that about one-fourth of the U.S. population will be 65 or older by 2030 when the youngest of the estimated 73 million baby boomers will reach that milestone. People are also living longer, on average, and are more health-conscious than ever before, seeking living environments that enable better health and well-being throughout their retirement years.

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