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AgeWell Solvere Living Focuses on Improvement After Growth Spurt in 2023 

After coming together in 2023 through a combination of mergers, AgeWell Solvere Living is looking to continue its growth throughout 2024 in a variety of ways.

The North Palm Beach, Florida-based company’s latest merger with Sonata Senior Living was finalized in November, bringing its total managed communities to 37. Now, the focus is going to be focusing on stabilization and building efficiencies, Kristin Ward, co-CEO of AgeWell Solvere Living, told Senior Housing News.

“We’re really focused on efficiency, productivity and managing the business in real time versus a look back on your P&L,” Ward said. “The second thing is growth. We’ve brought all of these great team members together, we have a lot of really talented individuals, we need a few more buildings to be able to support those roles.”

With an occupancy rate in the 70% range due to recently acquired communities and new openings, AgeWell Solvere Living is also looking at ways to continue stabilization efforts and increase occupancy across the board this year.

Planning for growth

With a current concentration of communities in the southeast, Ward said she would like to expand the company’s footprint back into the mid-Atlantic – where it formerly had a presence before selling a portfolio – and further into the southwest to fill out Arizona and Nevada.

AgeWell Solvere Living has plans to open three more communities this year that have been under construction for the past year, with planning and development beginning around three years ago. Once those are opened, however, she said there will likely be a lag in future development due to the current state of lending environments, so the plan is to shift to an acquisition focus.

With the company’s most recent acquisitions, Ward said the focus is going to be on positioning and looking at what the specific markets need.

In doing so, the AgeWell Solvere Living team is looking to “get creative” with services and real estate. For example, the company is renovating half of a recently acquired community and converting it into “enhanced” assisted living to better fit the market, with higher staffing ratios of one worker per six residents.

“Catered living is a new phrase that we’ve coined and a new way to look at it. It’s that borderline independent, assisted living person, and so we’re looking at that kind of thing,” Ward said.

AgeWell Solvere Living is also looking to focus on staffing The company’s recent mergers have given it a deeper bench with which to staff its communities. The company also now has a specialized recruiting position.

“Scheduling interviews is the biggest time suck. So we have a home office resource now … that assists in that to ensure that we don’t have agency,” Ward said.

With the use of resources like the recruiting specialist, the company was able to “dramatically” cut its agency usage in the first half of 2023. By the end of the year, it was almost cut entirely.

“If you’ve got your business officer director and your [executive director] that are filling in positions, then you don’t have the time to find the people to fill the ones that are vacant,” Ward said.

AgeWell Solvere Living is also focusing on staff retention, with line items in its budget for employee appreciation and a MVP program that rewards good outcomes and living up to the company’s mission, value and purpose.

“There’s a direct correlation to team member satisfaction and occupancy and revenue. So that’s something that we’re just very passionate about and able to spend a lot of time on now, which is really exciting,” Ward said.

‘Absolute opportunity’ to expand tech use

While Ward noted the company’s usage of technology isn’t a standout feature, it is looking to continue to renovate and adapt. Ward noted one of its biggest technology uses with Accushield, initially used as a security function for guests to check into a community, has been adapted to allow for community reviews. In turn, issues reported by guests can be addressed faster.

“The other great thing it does is if you have a three [star] or below [review], it immediately alerts the executive director of the community so they know they have a service failure in real time,” Ward said. “They can reach out to that person immediately, instead of waiting until that builds and it becomes a complaint … That’s what makes a great community. That’s what makes a great building.”

Additionally, the company tracks resident loneliness by seeing how many visitors they have, then using the data to customize programs for residents who may not get a lot of family interaction to allow them to be more social.

Moving forward, Ward said AgeWell Solvere Living is looking to expand technology services through the use of robotics from a dining and housekeeping standpoint, and several of its communities are looking to pilot programs for them. However, there has to be “a lot of structure” for them to be able to work efficiently.

“If you don’t do it well and don’t have it planned out, you end up just having an FTE walk around with the robot,” she said. “But there’s absolute opportunity. And some organizations have done a really good job dialing that in.”

Other technological changes revolve around care revenue, and the company is in the process of investigating what is available that makes the most sense for its communities, and ensuring that care revenue is “accurate and appropriate” based on the amount of time that staff is spending.

The post AgeWell Solvere Living Focuses on Improvement After Growth Spurt in 2023  appeared first on Senior Housing News.

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