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Reshaping Independent Living for a New Generation: Insights from Priority Life Care CEO

The delineation between active adult communities and assisted living facilities has posed challenges for operators in the realm of independent living. Priority Life Care CEO Sevy Petras is acutely aware of this struggle. Following the acquisition of eight independent living communities in Florida from Atria and Holiday Retirement by real estate investment trust Ventas (NYSE: VTR), Priority Life Care embarked on a journey to revamp these establishments.

Petras, in particular, is focused on redefining independent living to resonate with a new generation of residents, considering the impending influx of baby boomers into senior living communities. Recognizing the evolving preferences of this demographic, she emphasizes the necessity for tailored approaches to meet their distinct needs and expectations, steering away from a one-size-fits-all model.

The traditional concept of independent living, characterized by vibrant social interactions and resort-like amenities, is undergoing a transformation. With a shift towards more acute healthcare requirements among residents over the past 15 years, exacerbated by the challenges brought about by the pandemic, operators are compelled to adapt to a changing landscape where active adult communities offer alternative options for those with lesser care needs.

Surveying residents across its approximately 60 communities, Priority Life Care discovered a demand for not just culinary and recreational offerings but also a heightened emphasis on safety, clinical supervision, wellness, and holistic services. The pivotal question now revolves around the evolution of services and amenities to align with the expectations of the incoming boomer generation.

In response to these dynamics, Priority Life Care, in collaboration with its REIT partner, is undertaking refurbishments targeted at the next wave of consumers in the acquired Holiday by Atria properties. Concurrently, there is a reevaluation of programming, pricing strategies, and the establishment of unique identities for each community. Additionally, Petras is spearheading the development of a technology suite to enhance services, focusing on improved clinical oversight and a tech-driven approach to ensure residents’ safety and well-being.

Looking ahead, Petras envisions a tech-enabled future for independent living, where operational transparency and efficiency are paramount. While details of the technological advancements are yet to be disclosed, she anticipates a significant shift in the industry’s approach, driven by innovation and a proactive stance towards embracing change.

Following a successful 2023 marked by substantial growth and the launch of the Embrace program, Priority Life Care is committed to sustaining quality amidst expansion in 2024. With plans to visit all 60 communities twice this year, Petras aims to reinforce a culture of excellence and continual improvement, setting the stage for a transformative journey ahead.