Her fresh approach to senior living just may create a whole new frontier.

By Steve Moran

Mindy Byers is the Marketing and Sales Manager for Ballard Landmark, an Iindependent living/assisted living community operated by GenCare — a small regional provider that has 4 communities in the Seattle area. Her community has been open for 8 years, has 155 units, and around 165 residents. The cool stuff:

  • They have about 120 Independent living residents and 40 sssisted living residents

  • They are 100% full in a marketplace that has an occupancy rate of 92%

  • Their average age is 76

  • Their average length of stay is 36 months

  • They have 10 residents that moved in when the community opened

  • They have 2 residents that are over 100 and walk 5 miles a day . . . and this is a key element of the rest of the story

Secret Sauce — What Makes This Work?

I spent 30 minutes on the phone with Mindy talking about her community, her organization, and her passion with the goal of figuring out why they have such spectacular results. I see three things . . . 

  1. Mindy’s Passion — Mindy is a true believer in every sense of the word. She believes that seniors can have amazing lives and, with healthy living, roll back the clock. She believes her community is an amazing place for residents to live. She believes in herself.  

    Mindy is living proof that having the right salesperson can make all the difference in the world with respect to occupancy.

  1. A Belief in a Better Life for Residents — Much of senior living today is still about helping residents decline in comfort and, perhaps for some residents’ slowing that declining process. GenCare calls their philosophy of living “Whole Life Living”. The idea behind Whole Life Living is that residents can move into their communities and get substantially healthier; that 99-year-olds who can barely walk can turn into 100-year-olds who walk miles a day.   

    The proposition is very bold . . . You have been living a trainwreck, unhealthy lifestyle. You don’t eat right. You don’t exercise. You don’t have purpose. It is not too late to turn this around.

  1. Boomers Are Not Old Yet — One of the realities of us Baby Boomers is that we are not yet ready to be old people. We look in the mirror and see someone who looks like an older version of who we are, but we somehow don’t really believe that person in the mirror is the real us.   

    Even as we Boomers look for senior living for our parents, we are mostly looking for something we would like and GenCare fits that bill. They are committed to creating an environment that will appeal to younger elders, where residents can live out their last acts. They are committed to helping seniors have control over their lives.

It is exciting and encouraging to see this approach to senior living. It will result in higher occupancies, longer lengths of stay, and attracting younger residents.

Do you have a story like this we should be telling?