LifeSpire of Virginia, Pinnacle Living Form Home-Based Care Joint Venture

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Two senior housing providers – LifeSpire of Virginia and Pinnacle Living – have teamed up to provide home care services under a new joint venture agreement. The partnership comes at a time when more and more senior housing providers are adding home care to their service lines, a trend that didn’t play that well in the past.

LifeSpire of Virginia, based in Richmond, is a retirement home provider operating four senior citizens’ communities (CCRCs) of 1,300 residents across the state of Old Dominion.

Pinnacle Living is a Glen Allen, Virginia-based senior living provider offering assisted living and dormitory for memory support. The company operates five municipalities and supplies 1,100 residents.

The newly established organization is called Senior Living Partners of Virginia LLC (SLP). William Mayes has been appointed CEO of SLP. Prior to joining, Mayes was Senior Vice President at WesleyLife in Des Moines, Iowa.

The decision to start SLP was inspired by demographic trends and an ambition to expand care options for residents, Mayes told Home Health Care News.

“You have 70 million baby boomers who are aging, and the older the population gets, the greater the need for that type of service – home care,” he said. “They have always had outside services in their communities and they see that there is an opportunity for them to offer this type of service to meet the needs of residents.”

The talks about founding SLP began a few years ago when the two providers recognized the similarities between their organizations.

“These are two large continuous care communities in the state of Virginia with very long histories,” Mayes said. “They have all been in business for over 70 years. They are both devout, nonprofits, and they started talking about how similar they are and how they wanted to expand their missions. ”

The Senior Living Partners of Virginia model

Through the agreement, SLP will provide qualified home health services as well as on-site support. SLP will initially offer these services in the Greater Richmond, Newport News and Williamsburg area.

For now, SLP plans to focus on caring for the residents of LifeSpire of Virginia and Pinnacle Living, with plans to eventually expand home care services to the surrounding communities at large.

“The big picture is the aging population and how we can help them maintain their independence no matter where they call their home, be it their personal home or a community like LifeSpire of Virginia or Pinnacle Living,” Mayes said. “We will support them and help them stay as healthy as possible to avoid hospital stays.”

In addition, SLP also completed the purchase of Williamsburg Landing Home Health and acquired its existing assets, including state and federal home health licenses and certifications. The company will act as a subsidiary of SLP and will operate under the name Affirmation Home Health.

While home care is uncharted territory for Pinnacle Living, LifeSpire of Virginia dipped its toe in the water back in 2019.

It was then that the company launched Lakewood at Home, an ongoing home care program that helped seniors age on the spot. Under the program, members pay a monthly membership fee for home care and other services.

This prior knowledge has proven useful for SLP in recruiting. The company will take over the existing Lakewood at Home employees and plans to expand the team as needed.

In general, SLP is following the trend of senior housing providers entering the home care sector. Retirement homes are particularly interested in providing privately paid home care.

This is often a response to the increased demand for home care as seniors prefer to stay in their homes and communities. According to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the AARP Public Policy Institute, 90% of seniors want to stay home for as long as possible.

Aside from SLP, some examples of senior housing providers moving into home care are Bickford Senior Living, Senior Resource Group, and Holiday Retirement. Five Star Senior Living (Nasdaq: FVE) is also planning to expand its home health business, according to a June report in Senior Housing News.

Overall, according to the LZ 200 list, more than half of the largest nonprofit senior housing organizations in the United States offer some type of home and community-based services (HCBS).

One reason home care services are attractive to retirement home providers is because they allow operators to set up internal referrals where customers can start care at home and then move to a later community if necessary.

Home care and elderly living also share similarities in the privately paid income models typically used in independent and assisted living.

Still, there are many challenges for senior housing providers looking to provide home care. And many of the operators who have tried to start HCBS lines in the past have failed.

One of the biggest obstacles is recruiting.

Even the most experienced home care providers suffer from staffing problems as staff shortages persist. According to the Home Care Pulse Benchmarking Report, the average turnover rate among private home care providers in 2020 was 65.2%.

There are also major differences in how caregivers and seniors are valued. For example, home care workers tend to value flexibility in scheduling, while senior caregivers often value consistency, as SHN found in its most recent report.

Mayes believes the biggest challenge facing senior living is understanding the difference between the two industries. Home care and senior housing providers serve similar populations, but they have very different operating platforms, he pointed out.

Before jumping into home care, senior housing providers should do the appropriate level of market research and build relationships with the established industry experts, Mayes said.

“I think it’s very important to study the market,” he said. “It’s important to use people who have the knowledge of the industry you want to get into. Make sure you are building a very strong plan and a solid base of operations. Make sure you have strong guidance or advice before you just jump into it. “

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