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  • Writer's pictureNancy Griffin

NIC Spring Shines Light on Wellness and Value-Based Care in Senior Living

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Other conference trends include ongoing industry recovery, economic uncertainty, labor challenges, increased product segmentation, shifting demographic patterns and solutions for the “forgotten middle.”


The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Spring Conference in San Diego on March 1st-3rd focused on wellness and value-based care in senior living. Expert speakers agreed that the senior living industry plays a crucial role in the continuum of healthcare, and expressed the need for operators to spread the word to residents’ families and the community at large.


NIC Chief Economist Beth Burnham Mace shared the crucial role of senior living in healthcare on the first day’s opening session, “Senior living operators influence their residents’ social determinants of health. Operators can help manage chronic illness and keep residents healthy, resulting in fewer hospitalizations and reduced federal and state healthcare spending.”


The Wellness Revolution


Thursday’s keynote "The Wellness Revolution: Defining the Future of Care in Seniors Housing” featured Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, Diane Burfeindt, Managing Principal of Trilogy Connect, LLC, and Lynne Katzman, the founder & CEO of Juniper Communities, making a case for the ROI of wellness.


Milner quoted findings from a 2021 Deloitte study on the shift in healthcare spending. “In 2019, about 80% of health spending went toward care and treatment. by 2040, we expect 60% of spending will go toward improving health and well-being.” He also pointed out the need for personalization.


“No two individuals age at the same rate or in the same manner.”

Katzman reiterated the shift towards “'wellspan'—living better, longer. “Juniper provides seamless delivery of personalized lifestyle services with an integrated workforce. Using what we have but putting the puzzle pieces together differently. We think about our spaces differently. Public space is converted into ‘intergenerational hubs’ to broaden the market.”


Stressing the revenue and margin opportunities of a lifestyle model, Katzman recommended upselling value-added services. “Your fixed costs are already covered. Allow residents to choose services and offer them to the local community.”


Will Nursing Homes Be the Hospitals of the Future?


Day two featured a keynote with Nivah Shah, MD, senior scholar at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. His talk, “The Future of Health and Healthcare: How Will Senior Living Operators Differentiate Themselves encourages operators to focus on healthcare as a critical part of their offering.


“We know care is moving into the home. (including senior living communities in the definition of “home.) If that’s the truth, why not take a piece of it?” He encouraged communities to “take a first step by becoming familiar with residents’ clinical and care needs by collecting and using data. Patient reported outcome measures will be fundamental. Data allows us to justify policy.”


Discussing the changing landscape of healthcare to “24/7 access on my terms,” Dr. Shah shared his vision that soon “90% of healthcare will be through smart phone and tablet.” He envisions services such as “pre-hab” offered to optimize outcomes—giving the example of nutrition consultation and physical therapy before a hip surgery to limit hospital stays and recovery time.


“Hospitals are a cost-center. Sending the patient home sooner shift costs and care and allows rooms for meals and transportation for home care.

"One day, hospitals will just be ERs, intensive care units and operating rooms. Everyone else will be treated at home. Nursing homes will be the hospitals of tomorrow.”

Other trends discussed at NIC Spring include ongoing industry recovery, economic uncertainty, labor challenges, increased product segmentation, shifting demographic patterns and solutions for the “forgotten middle.”


“It’s a really exciting time for senior housing and care as the sector matures and its product offerings become increasingly differentiated,” “Looking ahead, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the outlook for senior housing,” said Mace. “The path forward likely will be a little bumpy.”


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