Changing Dynamics for Senior Housing 

May 19, 2019
Written by: CREW-St. Louis
Most of us have heard, if not said to our own parents, “Be good to your kids. They will choose your retirement home.” Moving into senior living hasn’t always been the most exciting time for aging parents, family members and friends. However, that mindset is in the past. Today, there are more options for senior living that are beautiful, affordable and can provide top-notch medical services for their residents. 

Al Beamer, CEO of Focused Senior Communities, and his family manage the Cottages on Lake St. Louis, a senior community based on the Green House Project model. They strive to give honor, dignity and privacy to their seniors. The units are spacious with top quality amenities that are filling a niche in the St. Louis market. 

Stephanie Harris, CEO and Principal of Arrow Senior Living, established her organization with an initial investment using her student loans while attending the St. Louis University School of Law. Her company’s focus is to give suburban seniors an affordable option while still providing some of life’s luxuries.

If you are looking for something completely different, Jennifer Laupp, Corporate Marketing Director of Allegro Management Company, provides leadership and strategic marketing direction to support her company’s goal of providing a luxury rental model. Allegro offers independent, worry-free living for active seniors, typically age 55+, who want to maintain their standard of living. They desire the flexibility of traveling without the hassle of caring for a home and yard. Allegro’s services can be bundled or unbundled to meet the needs and expectations of their seniors. 

While there are many privately-owned community options, St. Louis also offers affordable senior communities. Rev. John Kotovsky, President and CEO of Lutheran Senior Services (LSS), oversees the organization’s more than 20 senior living locations throughout Missouri and Illinois. LSS is the largest non-profit organization in St. Louis and income-based senior living is their core mission.   

While each facility offers slightly differing services and fills different market needs, many of their concerns for the future of senior housing and communities are the same. One of the biggest concerns is finding and retaining quality staff. Currently, there is a 46% turnover rate with employees and many positions are hard to fill. 

When asked how they are managing this concern, Laupp mentioned, “That they need to be teaching their supervisors certain skill sets, like better interviewing skills, to find topnotch candidates instead of finding a warm body to fill a position. Making the staff feel valued by giving them career paths and a way to move up within the company and finding other opportunities to grow.” The addition of employee benefits is aiding Arrow Senior Living with their staffing concerns. 

Harris said, “Giving the employees free meals while they are working and allowing reduced meals for them to purchase to take home to their families after work is great so they can enjoy their families without having to worry about making dinner after a long day at work.”

Not only does providing staff with more opportunities and benefits help with retention, but changing how the industry interacts with its seniors will provide the most benefit for the future.  

Beamer talked about the need to change how the staff interacts with the seniors. “There is no longer the rotating schedule where you don’t know the seniors or their families, but instead the need to stay with the same seniors and get to know them. Engage with them through activities. Do things differently.”

Whether you are wanting to live in a privately-owned senior community, an income-based community or an active luxury community, the needs are the same. Jennifer Laupp said, “A higher level of service is needed with high quality of people. Nurture the mind, body and spirit.”

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Photo Album: May Luncheon