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Senior Facility offers "Come Stay for the Winter" Residency trials are a huge success!

PulsePoints

Posted By: Cambridge Realty Capital
January 17, 2014

Senior Housing Providers Can Benefit from Residency Trials

In an effort to improve occupancy, senior housing communities should consider offering short-term trial stays to potential residents. When a trial-stay is successful and the resident decides to move in permanently, the community increases its occupancy, revenue, and net operating income. Thereby improving its financial position and its ability to obtain financing for future growth.

 Many assisted living communities offer short-term stays for people that are recovering from surgery, but there are other opportunities to offer trial-stays as well. Because of the cold weather, increased potential for power outages, and feelings of isolation and loneliness that are often more common during the winter, some communities have found that this time of year is an ideal time to offer trial-stays to potential residents. 

Furthermore, trial-stays are an excellent marketing tool because they allow residents to “test drive” a community and they also give the adult children who are typically instrumental in their parents’ transition to senior housing, another way to broach the subject with their parents and to get them comfortable with the idea of moving into a senior housing community.  While it’s currently not a widespread practice, an increasing number of senior housing communities are beginning to offer trial-stays to potential residents. For example, Epoch Assisted Living at Brewster Place in Massachusetts began unofficially offering winter trial-stays at someone’s suggestion five years ago, and because it was a success, it made the program official last year. 

Now every year Epoch sends invitations to potential residents inviting them to “spend the winter” at Brewster. The winter stay lasts for three months (a fourth month is offered for free) costs $5,000, and comes with a large room with a kitchen and sitting area, three meals a day, exercise and entertainment activities, cable TV, a phone, linen service, housekeeping, transportation, and shopping trips as well. Last year seven people took advantage of the program and 5 of them ended up moving in permanently after their trial stay ended. This year, residents like Ann Golini, who spent the night without utilities at her home last year when the power went out, were quick to accept Epoch’s invitation to spend the winter there. Losing utilities aren’t a concern at Epoch due to the presence of a generator.

In addition to the many benefits that trial-stays offer residents, communities also benefit from the arrangement. Trial-stays help communities maintain occupancy, generate revenue, and improve their financial position. This in turn increases their ability to obtain financing for future growth. Accordingly, before interest rates increase this year, senior housing communities should consider offering trial-stays to generate additional revenue and enhance their ability to obtain additional financing from companies like Cambridge Realty Capital.

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