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Optimism Abounds at 2012 Ziegler Greystone Executive Symposium

by Published On: Apr 03, 2012

What a difference a year makes.

In March 2012, more than 30 senior living executives representing 22 leading providers gathered for the 9th Annual Ziegler Greystone Executive Symposium (ZGES). One of the highlights of each symposium is the report on a general survey taken of attendees. 

This survey explores where organizations currently stand, where they plan to go in the future, and general attitudes and outlooks regarding the senior living industry.

When surveyed this year, 73% of that group described themselves as “more optimistic” about the current economy than they were a year earlier. By comparison, only 56% were “more optimistic” when asked the same question on the 2011 survey.

That idea of a turning tide permeated the entire event.

When asked about plans for growth in 2011, more attendees selected “new service lines within existing communities” than any other category. At this year’s Symposium, “redevelopment of an existing campus” overtook new service lines as the most selected growth/change tactic.

But concerns remain, despite the optimism and renewed interest in redevelopment. The residential real estate market continues to be the greatest threat in the minds of respondents, with operating costs a close second. 

According to the survey, providers are also concerned about finding pre-finance capital and meeting capital market requirements for permanent financing – no surprise given the new environment in which these organizations are operating.

The Symposium is geared to address timely, relevant topics just like these. The event’s opening session painted a picture of how the senior population has grown and will continue to grow in the coming decades – between 2010 and 2030, the number of 75-and-older households is projected to grow by 70.6%. 

But the pace of new community development, slowed by the economic crisis, has failed to keep up with senior population growth.

A second-day session focused on this issue, exploring growth capital, capital market expectations and the many different ways in which development plans can and are moving forward despite more conservative financing requirements.

With these requirements in mind, a marketing presentation examined how to create a positive financial impact in the assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing levels of care. Not only is the senior population growing, these seniors are also living longer – by 2030, the number of 85 year olds will increase more than 50%, and the number of 100 years olds will nearly triple. This growth presents an opportunity for CCRCs, one only heightened in importance by today’s capital market requirements.

That’s what the ZGES has always been about – getting some of the industry’s providers together in a small setting to discuss all things senior living and to learn from each other.


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