Assisted Living Industry Gets Creative in Tough Economy

A sluggish real estate market means many seniors are getting a deal on assisted living and other types of senior housing — at least in Detroit, according to an article posted yesterday on Crain’s Detroit Business. Seniors who have made the decision to move into assisted living may have to face selling their family homes for less than what it was once worth due to an abundance of properties on the market. Often, seniors rely on proceeds from the sale of a home to finance long-term care. Seniors may struggle to sell their homes in the current market

One assisted living facility, Fox Run (in Novi), has gotten creative by offering an on-site real estate professional to help potential residents sell their homes. They’re also offering a few hundred dollars off the monthly fee for a period of one to three years, depending on the location of the living unit. This particular facility requires an entrance fee of $99,000, a sum most seniors fund by selling their homes. Monthly maintenance fees average around $6,000 per month, although this fee varies widely depending on the type of care an individual is receiving.

Earl Parker, vice president of senior living for Singh Senior Living, says many seniors are fearful of depleting their retirement funds too soon or being unable to sell their homes, so many are putting off moving into assisted living for another year. Thom Hosinski, COO of Presbyterian Values of Michigan, says health care reform is leading to the availability of more community-based resources which enable seniors to remain in their homes longer.

Seniors who are making a move are demanding more care and flexibility, due in part to an increasing average age: In 2009, the average age of assisted living residents was 86.9 years old, a significant increase from the average age of 80 just ten years ago. Savvy adult children — the Baby Boomers — are also adding pressure for adequate services and amenities. To keep up with demands, many assisted living facilities are offering reduced rates, flexible levels of care, such as both on and off-site services, and increased opportunities for socialization.

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