Niching in Senior Living is catching on!
Far beyond the common niche categories of Active Adult, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing, Senior Living developers are drilling down into market segments based on group identity and affinity.
These communities strictly targeted to groups defined by religion, lifestyle, and interests. They appeal to a specific market segment based on who a resident is instead of their acuity level.
Here are a few examples based on StudioSIX5’s experience with tightly niched Senior Living communities.
Senior Living for Art Lovers
Senior Art Lovers in San Francisco find a creative home at Viamonte. This Life Plan development is a living gallery featuring numerous original works created by local and regional artists. These works are displayed throughout the community in corridors and amenity spaces.
The community residents have established a tour of the works for visitors or nonresidents to enjoy. Viamonte is also included on the city’s official Art Tour.
A love of art is what drives this community’s high level of local awareness, which leads to occupancy.
Senior Living for Jews
Legacy at Midtown Park in Dallas, TX is a Life Plan Community for members of the Jewish faith.
Legacy is an ancestor of the Dallas Home for Jewish Aged, which began in 1953 as a safe haven for Jewish refugees fleeing Europe.
While open to members of all religions, Legacy primarily caters to the Jewish faith. Its sanctuary features an “Ark” as the central focus in front of which the Rabbi stands to deliver the Sabbath message. The Ark houses the scrolls of the Torah, and the sanctuary was inspired by the grandeur of Solomon’s Temple and the stark façade of the Western or Wailing Wall.
The Jewish heritage is rich, and Jews are tightly bound in tradition, history, and culture. It only made sense to develop an offering like Legacy Midtown Park to serve that specific market segment. It also made good business sense as lease-up and stabilization came rapidly to this community.
Senior Living for Muslims
We do not have many details concerning this development, but we were asked to submit a proposal to design the interiors for a Muslim-focused Senior Living community. It’s more proof that niching is a growing trend.
Senior Living For LGBTQ+
Palm Springs, CA is the site of an innovative Senior Living community serving the LGBTQ+ market segment called Living Out. And with around 50% of adults in Palm Springs identifying as LGBTQ+, it’s a natural and long overdue initiative.
StudioSIX5 is the Interior Design firm for this Active Adult Living development designed and programmed specifically for the LGBTQ+ community.
Living Out will serve the entire spectrum of the LGBTQ+ population, not just one group within that segment. It is to be universally inclusive as a safe and welcoming place for people identifying as LGBTQ+ to live.
Loren Ostro, the visionary leader of Living Out describes the concept best,
“As LGBTQ+ people, we had to learn to navigate a world that wasn’t built for us. But now, Living Out reverses that paradigm by building A World Especially for Us!”
Living Out is a hybrid of the Active Adult and Independent Living models in that it features expansive apartments as well as dining facilities.
While dining venues are not typically features of an Active Adult community, StudioSIX5’s Creative Director, Dean Maddalena, predicts they will become a trend in Active Adult developments and serve as social clubs for the surround ding community. Living Out is at the leading edge of this evolution.
Opening in the spring of 2023, Living Out is so precisely targeted, we speculate it will be fully leased before it achieves C.O.
Will this kind of niching continue in Senior Living and other segments of development? We certainly think it will. But what are the benefits to developers, owners, and operators?
Riches in Niches. That’s what good marketers will tell you and, based on the demand and occupancy of the developments we described above, it’s true.
Of course, other factors such as site selection are critical to the success of any development.
But when you have it right, there are sound reasons to niche:
- By focusing on the needs of a segmented customer group, your marketing and messaging is more effective than if you were to market to a broad spectrum of customers and their widely varied needs. Through niching, you can present exactly what you’re offering and how it addresses an individual’s identity or affinity.
- Niching gives you authority, which builds trust with the prospect. It also proves to the prospect you understand them and their needs.
- Niching allows you to set clearly defined business goals, because every decision is driven by your chosen specialty. Decisions incongruent with growing the niched business are easily indefinable and eliminated.
- It gives you leverage in the most powerful marketing tactic available, Word of Mouth. Hearing about a business from a friend who is a resident or a family member of a resident in a niched community is called Social Proof. And in this case, it’s a living testimony for your development. Prospects in the Senior Living space need support and a friend will do the hard work for you.
While not every development can be niched, there are many possibilities.
We’ve discussed a small number in which StudioSIX5 is involved, but we’re positive many more are operating today.
What can you do? Is there an obvious need in a niche you can fulfill?