By Steve Moran

If your occupancy and presence in your local market are all you want them to be, then don’t bother reading this article.

If your occupancy and revenue need a boost, this is a brilliant idea from the Wall Street Journal titled WeWork to Run Co-Working Spaces in Some Saks Fifth Avenue Stores (paywall warning).

If You Have Empty Units

This might be one of the coolest ideas I have ever had (yes I know I say that a lot, and I am actually thinking I need to go back and make a list of them). Imagine for a minute that you took some empty units and turned them into coworking spaces for people like me, who mostly work from home, but would like to work away from home on occasion.

Even right now, I think that if the Frontier, Brookdale, Cogir, or Carlton communities (all within a mile or two of my home) had co-working space I would be there. It would give me access to food, coffee, human connection, wisdom, a gym, and in some cases a pool.

Your Benefits

There are so many benefits for the senior living community:

  • Additional Revenue – It seems unlikely you could put enough desks in any apartment to replace the revenue from a resident, but some revenue is better than nothing, and the cost to serve office users would be limited to a bit of wifi bandwidth and some cleaning.
  • Intergenerational Interaction for Residents – I believe most senior living operators have no idea how big an opportunity this is. And conversely, how big a barrier the lack of intergenerational opportunities is to attacking new residents.
  • Purposeful Living – Imagine what it would do for residents who have had success in life to be able to give back to your coworking users. Creating opportunities for purpose in senior living is a huge challenge. This is one answer to that challenge.
  • Most Important of All – This will change the public paradigm of senior living in your community. I dream of Brookdale, Five Star, Capital Senior Living, LCS doing this. I can imagine the conversations.
    “Hey, let’s meet at my office.” 

    “123 Main Street, it’s that Brookdale Senior Living Community.”

    “Your office is in a senior living community?”

    “Yeah, and it is unbelievably awesome.”

All of a sudden senior living begins to create a new paradigm about growing older and senior living. And along the way, you will have extra revenue and an army of marketing agents wandering around your marketplace.

And what would be cooler than that?