The Daily Herald has named GreenFields of Geneva one of its 2013 Readers’ Choice Award winners in the Best Retirement/Assisted Living category. Sponsored by Friendship Senior Options, GreenFields is a continuing care retirement community in Geneva, Ill. The community includes 147 independent living units, 51 assisted living units, 26 memory support suites and 43 skilled nursing beds. Greystone is serving as development consultant at GreenFields.

See below for photos of GreenFields. Learn more about the community, or read more about the Daily Herald’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

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We have all heard that, within the first 7 seconds of meeting someone, they will have developed 11 impressions about us. This is true on both personal and professional levels. Being aware of this, we must make sure that we successfully create positive impressions. In senior living, is a great first impression enough to: 1) close the sale, 2) get our future residents moved in, and 3) keep them happy so that they stay for the duration? To meet all three expectations, we must be successful in creating three types of positive impressions: First, Move-In and Lasting.

First Impressions — Regardless of whether we are selling assisted living, memory support or skilled nursing; we must do everything in our power to make a good first impression. Invite prospective residents to dinner, serve the best on the menu, take them gifts, meet their families and listen to their stories. All of this begins the process of building trusting relationships. Ultimately, we want our future residents to know they are valued.

If we are successful, we have made the sale and moved them in. We have accomplished our task and increased our occupancy. Great job! The next step is honoring our promises and keeping our residents happy. In today’s market, our current and future residents have an abundance of choices. There is no guarantee that they will stay. We see assisted living and memory support communities popping up in every market. Consequently, the opportunity to impress is crucial. Our health care residents are important revenue drivers, and we must continue impressing them.

Move-In Impressions — So, how do you “impress” your residents after the residency agreement is signed? The impression that sold them is only the first part of the equation. Now you must focus on the move-in experience.

When is the last time you reviewed your move-in process? All factors should be evaluated, including how we complete assessments, gain physician orders and accommodate the moving-day experience for residents and their families. Remember that the decision to move out of a home and into our community has been a long and difficult one for the family. Emotions are typically high, the move-in process typically stressful; this is a hard transition for everyone involved. Take the time to speak to your residents and their families after the move-in. Gain their feedback on how the process can be improved or simplified. The more we learn from those who have experienced it, the better we can serve future residents.

Lasting Impressions — One of the many reasons residents move in is that they have become unsafe in their own homes. That doesn’t preclude them from enjoying a high level of independence. Your community should promote independence for each of your residents. If we listened to our residents during the discovery process, we should know their wants, needs, likes and dislikes. We sold them on our ability to meet their expectations, and we should make sure that we are following through.

Whether you are selling assisted living, memory support or skilled nursing, all potential residents want to feel important. The sales process doesn’t stop after the residency agreement is signed. Every empty apartment represents lost revenue. The cost of qualified leads is high. We must focus on keeping apartments occupied and increasing average length of stay. We can achieve this by honoring lasting impressions.

Successful Formula — Follow this simple formula to create powerful impressions:
First Impressions drive move-ins.
Move-In Impressions drive satisfaction
Lasting Impressions drive revenue.
Revenue drives the community.

— Mindy Cheek, Senior Manager, Marketing Services

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New video shows a snowy construction site at The Barrington of Carmel, a Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation-sponsored continuing care retirement community near Indianapolis. This Life Care senior living community will include 134 independent living apartments, seven catered living apartments, 56 assisted living apartments, 26 memory support units and 48 skilled nursing beds. It is scheduled for completion late in 2013. Greystone is serving as development consultant.

See construction progress in the video/photo gallery below. Learn more about The Barrington.



Take a tour of the recently completed Phase IV expansion at Redstone Village, a continuing care retirement community in Huntsville, Ala. New photos show off Phase IV’s dining and aquatics centers. The expansion also brought 36 new independent living apartments to the community. Greystone is serving as development and management consultant at Redstone.

Learn more about Redstone Village.



The slow housing market and downshift in senior living sales are quickly becoming things of the past. Today, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are moving forward with renewed energy.

This growing momentum was the theme at last month’s 10th Annual Ziegler Greystone Executive Symposium. The Symposium is an intentionally small gathering of senior living executives. This year, executives and board members from nearly 30 providers attended to discuss new strategies for this encouraging environment. Many shared examples of what they are doing.

“The CCRC business really had a good year in 2012,” said Greystone CEO John Spooner. “And all of the underlying comfort we got from an improving housing market, from rising occupancy, from a better environment overall, did create a sense that we’re on a better and longer path.”

One of the highlights of each Symposium is a survey taken of attendees. This year’s results demonstrated the on-hand providers’ desire to take action. Seventy-five percent of the survey’s respondents said their mindset in relation to the current economy is “more optimistic” than one year ago. Of the 20 organizations to respond, 95 percent are expecting to expand, 65 percent to add a new service line and 60 percent to redevelop an existing campus.

Why now? Certainly the economy is a factor. So too are the compelling demographics that indicate a growing demand for senior living. Justine Vogel, president and CEO of RiverWoods, a continuing care provider in Exeter, N.H., spoke during one session about taking action to maintain the organization’s position in a competitive market.

That increasingly competitive environment was also a common theme. The senior population is growing, but senior living development slowed during the financial crisis. That shortfall has created a window of opportunity for providers to serve growing and new markets. Survey respondents listed competition as the No. 1 threat — followed by operating costs second and the real estate market third. Ninety percent of respondents expect for-profits to move into their respective market spaces.

“You can expect the for-profit market to be growing and starting to grow very aggressively, heavily motivated by demographics,” said Dan Hermann, senior managing director of Ziegler’s senior living finance group.

The non-profits are growing, too, if the providers at the Symposium are any indication.

“Every organization in this room is currently either embarking upon some great change or project, or is seriously considering taking on a new initiative,” said Greystone President Mark Andrews during the Symposium’s opening session.

The Symposium’s 10 sessions focused primarily on different considerations for exploring new opportunities. WellStar’s Lou Little spoke about health care reform and accountable care organizations (ACOs) and how CCRCs can play a pivotal role while also building their businesses. Suzanne Pugh of Aldersgate and Lisa Israel of La Posada spoke about planning, and Al Jahner of El Castillo joined Justine Vogel for a discussion of executing on strategic plans. Greystone and Ziegler team members also spoke on a variety of topics, including redevelopment, availability of financing, creating comparative market advantage and board-management relationships.

The board-management relationship will be especially important moving forward. Survey results show that 40 percent of organizations will address executive succession in the next five years. The ability of board members to assist with the transition of new leaders will be a growing challenge for the industry.

The Ziegler Greystone Executive Symposium has served through the last 10 years as an opportunity for providers to gather, learn and share their experiences. No matter the environment in a given year, ideas on change, adaptation and growth are always at the forefront of providers’ minds.

See photos from the 10th Annual Ziegler Greystone Symposium in the gallery below.

The Ziegler Greystone Executive Symposium

In early March 2011, Ziegler and Greystone hosted their annual Senior Living Executive Symposium in Carlsbad, California. Twenty-five organizations from around the country, mostly multi-campus CCRC providers, attended and learned through both open dialogue and a variety of presentations by industry professionals. Discussion topics included:

• Strategies to achieve growth in a challenging environment and examples of how providers are doing this today,

• Competitive response through repositioning or expanding,

• The changing senior-consumer mindset,

• Balancing hospitality with managing a successful business, and

• An overview of the capital markets and sources for growth capital.

The 2011 Ziegler Greystone Executive Symposium was a great success. A benefit of the smaller setting that the Symposium provided, professionals from both Greystone and Ziegler dialogued directly with each attending organization in addition to presenting materials in more formal setting. Through these discussions, as well as findings in the annual survey, it became clear that organizations are optimistic about the future, are currently planning and executing on growth strategies, and have continued to improve financial performance in the past year despite the struggling economy.