Lori and I crossed paths since fairly early on in the life of Senior Housing Forum.  In fact Lori was one of my very first guest bloggers, authoring an article titled: 10 Ways to Increase Professional Referrals, which is still a great read.

A few weeks ago we spent some time at the Marcus Evans Long-Term Care CXO Summit talking about Avanti Senior Living a company she recently founded with Tim Hekker.

Development Plans

Their current development pipeline includes seven communities in Texas, Louisiana and Florida.  Two communities have are under construction and the others will break ground in late 2014 and 2015. And they have several other markets they are exploring. Each community will have both assisted living and memory care.

Market Differentiation

One of the most important questions I ask senior living providers is this:

“What makes you unique in the marketplace?”

More often than I would like, I end up with a blank stare followed by a tepid non response.  When I asked Lori this question it was like pushing the launch button on a rocket ship.

She started by saying that She and Tim wanted to take all their collective knowledge of over 50 years and build on that knowledge to create something forward-thinking in design and interiors combined with state of the art technology and innovative programing  that would provide their seniors a unique experience and create a compelling offering in the marketplace.

A big part of their development planning involved deep research to find the very best in every facet of their communities with a particular focus on looking which programs and features could worked best backed by solid research data.

The Cool Stuff

  • Health –  A dedicated exam room for medical professionals, believing all evidence suggests assisted living care will move further down the path of providing for more medically complex residents and they want to provide an area dedicated for visits versus the resident rooms. And the telehealth room is pretty cool too.
  • Design – There will be other dedicated spaces like full blown spa offering a variety of spa services. Relaxation therapy, aromatherapy, massages as well as hair styling and manicure/pedicures at the “nail bar”. Think boutique hotel – stylish lounge and bar, five courtyards, multiple destinations all with sophistication and hip interior design and finishing.  This won’t be your average senior living community. The memory care has a lot of researched based characteristics such as lighting to help with sun downing, lighting colors to help with perception, no “hidden” corners, built in sensory boards throughout.
  • Technology Systems– EMARs, EHARs, Point of Care solutions, RFID door locks (keyless entry), personal discrete monitoring, tablets and she wouldn’t reveal everything but did say she was working on a sole proprietary technology systems that will provide the ability for her team to be more efficient and the resident’s experience even better.
  • Multiple Dining Areas–  Lori and Tim believe residents need more choices to account for individuals inborn need for variety.  The reality is that it is impossible to serve the needs and wants of all residents with a single dining experience.This will include menu items made to order and the gourmet cuisine is available in an indoor or outdoor venue.
  • Wellness – There will be a strong focus on wellness. Avanti’s Mind. Body. Strength. Program is designed to maximize resident’s independence and overall wellbeing.  From a ballet bar to senior style yoga to ongoing education . . .
  • Culture – They are particularly focused on building a powerful team approach/ environment to serving seniors.  One of the tangible ways they will do this is to create a large amazing staff break room.   A place where it is ok to check email, surf the web or even play video games for a few minutes.  There will be direct access from the break room to the executive director’s office, not for the purpose of monitoring staff but to foster team relationships. They are all about empowering the Team and believe that this will create better care.
  • Families – The have given a lot of thought to what would make for an amazing experience for the families of residents.  First in this effort is to make sure they are on the leading edge of technology- from Wi-Fi throughout the building and in all the rooms, playgrounds for children. There is a big push for social media so they stay connected to their loved one. She feels the design and look of their building and their services will naturally create an environment where family and friends will want to come and visit the resident.
  • Options – each and every day, residents will have options and choices to meet their own personal preferences, from fresh daily menu items to activities like exercising on specialize equipment to having a drink or socializing at the bar, to watching a full length movie in the theatre. It’s like being in a world-class resort.

We will do a follow-up report on the success of all of these differentiators after they have been open a few months.

What do you think?

Would you do different things?

Which ideas do you like best?