Senior Living Industry CEOs See Consumers Proactively Choosing Senior Living, But Needing to Plan; Predict the Industry Becoming a Leading Career Path and Converging with Healthcare

The closing general session of the ALFA annual conference last week was a panel discussion of industry leaders that was moderated by FORTUNE senior editor and Washington columnist, Nina Easton. I missed it because of a speaking engagement I had committed to in Portland at the Oregon Healthcare Association. 

This article was submitted by the ALFA team.

More Americans proactively will seek to reside in senior living communities, and the industry has a role to play in ensuring that consumers will be financially prepared for their retirement years. CEOs from the nation’s leading senior living providers gathered to address these issues and share their predictions for the industry’s future at the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) Senior Living Executive conference last week in Tampa, Florida.

Five Predictions on the Senior Living Industry

1. Americans will proactively choose senior living.

Americans’ perception of senior living is changing, and it will continue to evolve. No longer seen as a stopping point on the way to higher-acuity care, senior living is increasingly viewed as a genuine home. As Baby Boomers make decisions with their aging parents, and begin to create a blueprint for their own retirement, senior living will become a logical next step in life stage planning. The industry is meeting consumer demand with a variety of offerings across the care continuum – from independent living to memory care.

2. Consumers need guidance in saving for senior living.

Though demand for senior living will increase, Americans’ ability to finance their retirement may be in jeopardy. Americans are living longer and saving less. The industry has an opportunity to address the growing challenges of long-term services and supports by playing an important role in how consumers finance their most enriching years.

3. Senior living will become a leading career path.

Millennials and their Generation Z counterparts increasingly will choose the senior living industry for their career path. Known as generations for whom “doing well by doing good” is a priority, these young professionals will be drawn to the opportunity to tap into their sense of altruism, in an industry with an overwhelming growth trajectory that offers the opportunity to build a lifelong career in a variety of disciplines. The field will require not only caregivers, but also professionals to fill roles in finance, asset management, sales and marketing, food service, and healthcare.

4. The senior living and healthcare industries will converge.

As healthcare systems turn their focus to population health and seek to improve outcomes and reduce costs, the necessity for collaboration with senior living will grow. Assisted living communities will develop strong partnerships with home healthcare providers, hospitals, and physician practices to provide integrated services that deliver better, more efficient healthcare to seniors.

5. Formalized standards will create a “seal of approval” for senior living operators.

ALFA will introduce formal industry standards and a credentialing program, raising the bar of excellence in senior living by providing the public with a basis for evaluating a service provider or professional. These programs enable ALFA members to enhance or acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to perform at the highest levels within the senior living industry.

“Senior living is the most caring and responsible choice that families can make for a loved one,” said James Balda, president and CEO of ALFA. “As our industry grows, ALFA and its members will continue to look forward and seek new ways to foster a sense of community and build a bright future for America’s older adults.”

The Panel

The 2015 ALFA Senior Living Executive Conference was held May 4-7 in Tampa, Florida. CEO panel members included:

  • Brenda Bacon, president and CEO, Brandywine Senior Living
  • Jon DeLuca, president and CEO, Senior Lifestyle Corp.
  • Kai Hsiao, president and CEO, Holiday Retirement
  • Randy Richardson, president, Vi
  • Chris Winkle, president and CEO, Sunrise Senior Living

About ALFA

The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) is the largest national association dedicated to professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the seniors and families they serve. Since 1990, ALFA has advocated for choice, accessibility, independence, dignity, and quality of life for all seniors. Visit ALFA’s website at