Senior Living Business Interactive: Dark Horse: The Growing Market For Affordable Seniors Housing With Services

Now is the time for senior living providers and developers to explore affordable seniors housing—with services. Demographic projections confirm the expansion of this market. As a result, the need for low- and middle-income seniors housing, where people can age in place while receiving needed support services, will become huge. This is an issue that impacts both the mission (fulfilling the need) and the bottom line (generating additional revenue) for both operators and developers. 

Affordable seniors housing with services is an important focus for research right now, particularly with regard to individuals in publicly subsidized housing, their use of health-care services, and the possibility of bringing long-term services and support into those communities, according to Lisa Alecxih, Senior Vice President of The Lewin Group in Falls Church, Virginia—a health-care and human-services consulting firm focused on financial modeling, long-term service delivery trends, and their implications for the future.

“As people age, the probability of their needing services and supports— bathing, dressing, shopping, and money management types of issues—increases dramatically,” she said. “And as they get to the age 95-plus category, a vast majority of those people (80.5%) will have some type of disability for which they may need support.”

That support can be rather expensive. According to the MetLife 2011 Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs, a private room in a nursing facility costs nearly $88,000, on average, across the nation; assisted living costs about half that amount ($42,000). Adult day care costs about $70 per day, and home care varies. A home health aide charges about $21 per hour; a homemaker/home companion, $19 per hour. So cost is the challenge when you combine the housing piece and the services piece and still try to make it all affordable for low-income seniors.

Projections indicate that 69% of people who turned 65 in 2005 will need, on average, three years of care due to some type of disability at some point in their lifetime. And specifically among those who do use care, they will need those services for an average 4.3 years. The vast majority of seniors with disabilities (71%) are supported by informal care within the community—usually unpaid care by family or friends—but 29% also require formal care in nursing facilities, assisted living communities, or at home.

While many people may be able to save enough over their lifetime to cover long-term care expenses, 25% will need a substantial amount of services and support at a cost of $100,000 or more. As they turn age 65, they would have an average net worth of $47,000 (excluding home equity).

Over the past five years, the median income for adults age 65 or older has been on the rise, although it dips for single adults age 55 or more with no children. Net worth has either flattened or fallen for all older adults in that time period. Affordable care, therefore, becomes a prime issue.............Want to read more? Click here for a free trial to Senior Living Business Interactive  and download the current issue today