What’s the Difference?: A Deep Dive into the Different Senior Living Options

What's the difference?: a deep dive into the different types of senior living options

 

When you think ‘Senior Living’, what do you picture? Personally, my mind immediately goes to the assisted living facility my parents lived in for five years.  In reality, senior living is an umbrella term that is broadly applied to a wide range of housing communities that are designed to make life easier, safer, and more convenient as the resident ages. It’s not just one size fits all. As they age, many people begin to recognize the benefits of living in a community with people similar in age and activity level.  Because the umbrella term of ‘Senior Living’ is so often tossed around, many don’t realize the number and variety of options available to seniors according to their needs. Let’s talk about the four main options for senior living – starting with the newly popular Active-Adult-style communities.

ACTIVE ADULT

Active Adult is the latest entry into the Senior Housing realm and is the...

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The Top Senior Living Design Trends to Watch in 2024

 

For developers in the ever-evolving senior living industry, deciding which amenities to include in their projects can be quite a process. These decisions are essential to ensure that their community not only meets the functional and health needs of their senior residents, but also provides a sense of security, belonging, comfort, and even purpose. Looking to emerging, industry-wide trends can help these developers to keep on top of standards and also introduce amenities that will help them stand-out to prospective residents.

As a senior living general contractor with nearly 50 years of experience, we’ve seen our fair share of trends and we’ve compiled a list of the top senior living design trends to watch in 2024. Let’s dive in:

1. Enhanced Dining Options -- 

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Dining programs have long been considered a crucial element of senior living, designed to not only meet the nutritional needs...

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Six Ways to Control Cost as a General Contractor

Six ways to control costs as a senior living and multifamily general contractor

 

As an industry leading, Senior Living and Multifamily General Contractor, we know that one of the primary concerns for most developers continues to be staying within budget. A crucial part of meeting these financial objectives is controlling costs from the start and maintaining that control throughout the life of the project. At The Douglas Company, we take this seriously and make a commitment to our clients to come up with the best price solution possible. Here’s six ways that we control costs as a General Contractor:

1. Development Planning & Leadership:

From the very moment we receive information about a new project, we begin to invest our time and resources into comprehensive planning and design. The work that’s done at this phase, looking into absolutely every detail of the project, lays the groundwork for keeping within budget and reducing surprises along the way.

Our leadership team works closely with architects, engineers, and the...

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Choosing a General Contractor for Your Next Development: What to Look For

 

For every project they build, developers need to secure multiple resources. Not the least significant of these is a General Contractor, who will set the tone for the entirety of construction. A General Contractor that excels at working on a collaborative basis during the design phase is the best choice. 

Some contractors do a lot of hard-bidding for projects, where the lowest price wins. Being the lowest bidder doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the best company for the job. Further, where does this process leave the projects that need help before they get to construction documents? It’s a good idea to ask a potential contractor what percentage of their work they bid versus getting involved early and helping during the design phase.

While many contractors say they like to get involved in those early stages, the reality is that some of those contractors aren’t diving deep and putting in the effort required to...

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The Douglas Company Oversees Construction on $23.5 Million Senior Community

The Douglas Company has begun construction on The Arya at Debary ALF, a $23.5 million independent living, assisted living, and memory care community in Debary, Florida. The Douglas Company, serving as general contractor, is working with joint owners Nied Capital and Park Square Homes.

The 98,773 square-foot development, designed by Rabits & Romano Architecture, boasts 106 units featuring a mix of well-appointed studios, one and two-bedroom units, and separate independent living cottages. Residents will have access to market-leading indoor and outdoor amenities with a fresh and modern design. The community comforts will include a salon, fitness center, bar and coffee lounge, theater, country kitchen, multiple activity spaces, luxury amenity-filled courtyards, and a bocce ball court. The completion date is expected in Spring 2024.

“The Douglas Company is excited to join forces with Nied Capital and Park Square Homes on this much-needed senior living community,” said Jeremy Bartolovitch, Vice President of the Southeast...

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The Douglas Company Completes $19 Million Florida Project, HearthStone at Wildwood

Holland, Ohio, September 19, 2023 – The Douglas Company, an industry leading-general contractor, is proud to announce the completion of HearthStone at Wildwood, a senior living community in Oxford, Florida. The Douglas Company served as general contractor for the $19.0 million project.

Developed by Wildwood Senior Housing RE, LLC. and Nvision Development, the facility is situated on the doorstep of the world-famous 55+ retirement community, “The Villages”. Designed by Forum Architecture & Interior Design Inc., HearthStone spans 83,000 square feet and is comprised of 36 memory care units and 94 assisted living units for a total count of 130 units. The true focal point of the facility, the main dining area, features high ceilings, stylish light fixtures, a fireplace, and expansive windows that open up to the courtyard, making it a perfect spot for sharing meals. This location also offers a range of amenities, including a game room, salon, fitness center,...

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Making Sense of the Latest Cost Data

 

A common sentiment we seem to keep hearing is, "We're holding on any new development until construction costs come down." And while we know it will be fantastic when that day comes, the question of when that will be hangs heavy. Recent data tells us… something, right?

Unfortunately, we’re not seeing much relief anywhere right now. Things don’t seem to be getting worse, but they’re not getting better either. It seems that we are all still waiting for that “bottom falls out” moment, which hasn’t happened yet and some construction economists are backing off on predicting when it will. Predictions have shifted a possibility of the “Soft Landing”, which doesn’t really help prices. Recently The Douglas Company attended National Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) Conference where their spoke, with the sentiment "It's going to get worse before it gets better," and "Recessionary conditions will prevail at some point over the next...

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What’s Happening with Material Pricing?

 

Over the past few years, there have been frequent discussions with our clients related to what we are seeing in the market when it comes to material and subcontractor pricing.

Since the pandemic, material pricing has been an extremely volatile part of our industry. These changing conditions have required everyone to adopt various strategies to get deals done. These strategies range from forms of procurement to combating escalation and much more.

As you can see in the table below from US Bureau of Labor Statistics, pricing is up substantially from where it was pre-pandemic. Overall project costs are up over 34% depending on type of construction. The table also indicates that continuous inflation has had a heavy impact on construction costs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dollar had an average inflation rate of about 5.53% per year between 2020 and today. The result has been a...

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The Douglas Company Announces a New President

Holland, OH, June 1, 2023 - The Douglas Company, a recognized industry-leading general contractor in commercial construction, proudly announces the promotion of Bruce R. Douglas to President of the company, effective July 1, 2023.

The Douglas Company was founded in 1976 by Bruce’s grandfather, Bruce Douglas, and is headquartered in Holland, Ohio, with a second office in Orlando, Florida. Bruce takes over the position from Peter Douglas, who has been President since 1992.  In these 31 years, the Company has grown to be a respected national leader in senior living and multifamily construction, completing more than 13,000 units of senior living and 11,000 units of multifamily.  “I’m excited for the future with Bruce and our dedicated leadership team.  They, along with our other associate partners, bring tremendous energy and ability to serve our clients into the future. We have planned for this process for several years to ensure the transition...

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The Douglas Company Announces Completion of $22 Million Senior Living Community in Shaker Heights, Ohio

Front exterior of HarborChase of Shaker Heights

Holland, Ohio, May 9, 2023 – The Douglas Company proudly announces the completion of HarborChase of Shaker Heights, a new assisted living and memory care community located within one of Cleveland’s most affluent suburbs, just eight miles from downtown. The Douglas Company served as general contractor for the $22.2 million community.

Co-Developers, Confluent Senior Living and Harbor Retirement Associates, selected RDL Architects to design the three-story, 108-unit community. The 106,698 square foot HarborChase is comprised of 80 assisted living units and 28 memory care units for individuals with dementia-related conditions, with every unit boasting high-end finishes. This extravagant facility offers vaulted ceilings upon entering and has a variety of amenities for residents to enjoy, including a commercial laundry service, full-service commercial kitchen, exhibit kitchen complete with a pizza oven, virtual activity room, two salons, bistro, bar, a large wellness room, private and formal dining rooms, artist studio...

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Conventional Hold-down Hardware vs. New Tie-down Systems

When it comes to anchoring building components in wood-framed structures, there are two primary options to consider: conventional hold-down hardware and new tie-down offerings from either QuickTie or CLP. While both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, the trend in the framing world seems to be pushing more toward the new tie-down systems.

Conventional hold-down hardware typically involves using screws, bolts, straps, and lots of nails to secure the hardware to the framing components.  This can be an effective method, but it can also be labor-intensive and time-consuming, especially when dealing with larger or more complex wood-framed structures.  In addition, the use of traditional hardware can sometimes lead to damage or deformation of the material being held down, especially if excessive force or nails are applied or installation is sloppy.  Also, traditional hardware has little flexibility on tolerances and does nothing to address wood shrinkage and building settlement.

Quick tie...

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Demand for Active Adult Housing Continues to Outpace Supply

Active adult or age-restricted housing continues to experience strong growth, while multifamily housing development is showing signs of slowing. The active adult market hasn’t yet been flooded by national developers, leaving opportunities for real estate investors and developers who want to enter this exciting market. Active adult housing has experienced year-over-year growth every year since 2012 without any signs of slowing down, and with Baby Boomers beginning to retire and downsize, now is the perfect time to consider active adult.

Nearly all of the approximately 75 million Baby Boomers are already over age 55. As Baby Boomers begin to retire, many are looking to downsize and start a new lifestyle. However; most are not ready for assisted living or traditional senior living communities. Today’s seniors are looking for simpler lifestyles featuring single-story floor plans with little to no maintenance.  Community amenities like walking trails, clubhouses, and activities are located close to...

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What I Enjoy About Construction

This year marks 10 years in the industry for me, which on one hand feels like 20 years, and on the other, it feels like just yesterday I was graduating college. I was recently asked “What do you enjoy about construction?” so this made me take a minute to reflect on the past 10 years.

Honestly, the day-to-day in construction is grueling. As general contractors, we are focused on keeping the project moving so we are always dealing with resolving issues. Once you solve the problem you are working on, it’s on to the next one. This process repeats really until the project is complete. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle but that is just the nature of the beast.

So to answer what I enjoy about construction, I was drawn to the process it takes and the impact it has on so many different people. The most enjoyable part of...

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The Movies and Senior Living Development

Twenty years ago everyone would ask me why I didn’t do development on a personal basis. Development is different from construction. I understand the risks of construction, but I don’t understand those of development very well. So I would Forest Gump my way through it, thinking “Stupid is as stupid does,” knowing I am not an expert in development. It was meant to add humility and levity, not to intimate that those who do development are stupid. A better quote would have been from Clint Eastwood, who said “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I did, and I do.

About fifteen years ago a good client and friend asked if I wanted to invest in a project he was developing and we were building, so I did on my own, not as The Douglas Company. I have since invested personally in several projects, always as a relatively small percentage, with...

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The Douglas Company Finishes Eighth Senior Living Community with Kaplan Development Group

Holland, Ohio, 2023 February 9 – The Douglas Company and owner, Kaplan Development Group, celebrated the completion of the $12.6 million All American Assisted Living at Enfield. Located in Enfield, Connecticut, this new community offers assisted living and memory care services for older adults. This is the eighth development The Douglas Company has managed as the general contractor for the Kaplan Development Group. 

Designed by EGA Architects, All American Assisted Living at Enfield features 112 residences in a spacious 55,992 square-foot living and communal space. Impressive in-house amenities include a salon, beauty parlor, bistro, media room, and an interior courtyard. The building is wood-framed and constructed on a slab on grade over a standard spread footer/stem wall.  The exterior is finished with CertainTeed vinyl siding, including lap boards and “cedar” shakes, with a mix of EPDM and asphalt shingle roofing. 

“The Douglas Company team is proud to bring the Kaplan Development Group projects to life...

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The Douglas Company Completes Cincinnati’s First LGBTQ+ Retirement Community

Holland, Ohio, November 29, 2022 – John Arthur Flats located in Cincinnati, Ohio is the first LGBTQ+ friendly 55+ affordable senior housing community in the city of Cincinnati. The modern building contains 57 units offering studio, and 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. The Douglas Company was selected as the general contractor for the $9.4 million development. This is the second project working with developer, Pennrose, LLC.

New Republic Architecture created a unique design with charcoal metal panels and a custom brick blend for the exterior. The 50,000-square-foot space consists of a 3-story building with elevator service. Impressive amenities include a fitness center, large community room, wellness center, on-site laundry room, a dog park, and an outdoor terrace. On-site social and medical services geared toward LGBTQ+ needs are also available to residents.

“We are proud to be part of this collaboration with the Northside’s development arm, Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation...

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Construction is Underway on Revolutionary Active Adult Community in Gainesville, Florida

Holland, Ohio, October 20, 2022 – The Douglas Company, an industry-leading general contractor, is proud to partner with Discovery Management Group to build a revolutionary concept in senior living at Discovery Place at Celebration Pointe. Located in the heart of Gainesville’s Celebration Pointe development, this Experiential Living community will provide unique amenities and programming aimed at socialization, health, and fitness. Completion is expected in early 2024. This is the third project for Discovery Management Group that will have been constructed by The Douglas Company.

Architectural Concepts, Inc. designed flexible spaces that will feature 180 one- and two-bedroom smart apartment homes including dens, a nearly 4,000-square-foot rooftop lounge and entertainment area, a state-of-the-art fitness center and workout studio featuring on-demand fitness programs and a personalized fitness coach, hospitality-style gathering areas, a tech bar and coffee lounge, a grab and go bistro, a bark park and more. Residents will have...

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The Future of Senior Living

Two weeks ago, I attended the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) in Washington, D.C. As always, it was good to see old friends and clients, and interesting to get a read on the industry. There were really no surprises, but it’s good to get intensive confirmation of what’s going on. 

Senior living development is really a somewhat bifurcated proposition at this point.  Though we are still building and have recently started a number of assisted living/memory care (AL/MC) projects, most of the developers are not bullish on this sector right now. Operating costs are up dramatically, interest rates and construction costs continue to rise, occupancies have not fully recovered, and rents have not yet risen to cover the increased expenses. There are some AL/MC developers that think that they just need to forge through, that it’s just a bump in the road and all will be good,...

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