Senior Housing: Dumb Money Meets Cowardly Lion

A recent article on the Red Capital Group Newsletter was entitled, “How Senior Living Designs Lack Courage”. (That’s not all that’s missing, but it’s a good start.)

Another article calls new investors in the senior housing sector “Dumb Money”.

dumb money

So, here we have an industry that lacks courage to innovate, yet one that is so threatened at the possibility of new ideas and new entrants playing in their “sand box” that they call us “Dumb” and hope we will go away. Well, I think the “Dumb Money” is getting smarter every day and may give the “Old Boys Club” a run for their money. Here’s why:

Since Dumb Money has not been steeped for decades in the Senior Living Market marinade, we don’t know all the outdated, unspoken rules. As a result, we tend to provide amenities for residents that we would like ourselves:

  • Farm-fresh food prepared by great chefs
  • open space and nature for ourselves, our families, and our friends
  • residences that are “homes” not “home-like”
  • niche living in the country if you desire a more meaningful, connected, authentic life
  • room to roam and explore on our own as well as community-sponsored programming
  • intergenerational accommodations making family visits more fun and less stressful for everyone
  • abandoning large, expensive, formal club houses repositioning services in a “downtown” type environment with various “neighborhood” gathering spaces and smaller clubhouses
  • space and accommodations for those residents who want to continue working full- or part- time

The list is too long to continue. It is all ‘common’ sense and doesn’t feel ‘courageous’ in the least to me. (Though I align with the dumb money crowd, so what do I know?)

Here is a pronouncement from a “Smart Money” player:

“Senior living providers don’t necessarily have to develop an assembly-line model in order to maintain their…‘brand’. In fact, many are thinking that tapping into local trends, cultures and traditions proves a competitive tactic.”

Duh!!! They go on to say that ‘local’ is a buzzword—locally sourced, local small businesses, etc.

Meg Solton, senior lead interior designer at development services firm Direct Supply Aptura has stumbled on what the established industry finds to be an astounding revelation:

“People want to have connections with other people nearby, even in this hugely global world.”

Once again, Duh!!!

From my personal experience developing Rincon del Rio, I had a very well-respected CEO in the industry tell me, “Just because a bunch of locals can support this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea”. The interest people show in moving to and living in Nevada County has been pretty well established for the last 20 years. Nevada County is particularly attractive to refugees from The Greater San Francisco Bay Area who go on to become a proud “bunch of locals”. Extremely gratified and contented “locals”, I might add.

No Grandpa Can Fail PondMany people from urban areas throughout California relocate to Nevada County. They envision how fun it would be to own 10 or 15 acres and have some open space and maybe some animals. At first it is fun. Then some years pass and the upkeep starts to be more difficult and things become ‘fun with trouble’. But life goes on until more years pass and now the acreage, animals, and large home become just plain ‘trouble’. Widows and widowers who marry sometimes find it ‘double trouble’.

Still, these folks want rewarding senior living in an atmosphere that promotes independence and happiness with a personal cottage, lots of acres to hike and explore, nature, wildlife, and gardening as well as a host of the normal amenities—swimming pools, great exercise facilities, adult playgrounds that promote outdoor activity, and hobby areas. (Additionally, Rincon del Rio boasts nearby Hidden Falls Park, The Sierras, and so much more.) Living at places like Rincon del Rio restores all the ‘fun’ of country living with none of the ‘trouble’.

We don’t need an industry ‘expert’ to tell us what people enjoy in senior living and having a residence in an Active Adult Retirement Community: Independence, space to enjoy friends and family, a home that you are proud to live in, and provisions for the future. It’s lucky Rincon del Rio and others have the ‘audacity’ and pluck to build this. (Our one regret is we have room for only 300 residences.) We sincerely hope the old-timers in The Senior Housing Industry get the “courage” to figure out what’s wanted and needed before “dumb money” leaves them puzzled in the dust.

Carol

Carol

Carol Young is a resident of Auburn, CA in Nevada County one of the most beautiful places on earth.Along with her husband Jim and their children Mac and Aubree, the family partnership is developing an active-adult community with a working farm to provide farm-to-fork dining for the residents, 80% open space, and a genuine “sense of place”.They all agree that “Nature is our Niche” and want to build a community for people to live the best years of their lives with a renewed spirit of purpose.

If you have suggestions or questions for Rincon del Rio, please contact Carol: Carol@Rincondelrio.com
Carol