When people first hear about the RAL Academy and the investment opportunities in residential assisted living they often approach with a dose of disbelief. After all, how can something that does so much good for our senior population be anything more than charity; how can it be such a profitable business?
Simple. It is the very need for this service, coupled with the growing elderly demographic shift that provides the conditions for profitability. Moreover, if you compare residential assisted living with the other options are out there, i.e. the large, sterile, hospital-like facilities, choice quickly becomes clear. As people age, they would rather reside in a comfortable and familiar home-like setting, rather than being just another number in a big box facility. There is enough difficulty trying to maintain dignity and comfort in old age. We don’t need to add to the struggle by herding our seniors into large facilities, isolated from the rest of society.
Residential assisted living seeks to address this paradigm and offer a healthy alternative that most of us would probably prefer. Still there is a great deal of skepticism surrounding this industry because most people are unaware of its existence or exactly what it entails.
Recently, Steve Moran, a well-known writer for the Senior Housing Forum, wrote an article describing his initial pessimism about the RAL Academy; a pessimism that quickly turned to belief as he dug into the facts and evidence supporting this successful business model.
He starts out, “Once in a while, I get something completely wrong.” “In July or August of 2016, a reader reached out to me about this guy, Gene Guarino, who was teaching three-day classes on “how to get rich” by starting residential assisted living communities (think small homes). I took a hard shot at what he was doing.”
“But it turns out……I WAS WRONG.”
Steve went on to explain how he met Gene at the InterFace Seniors Housing West Conference and after a lengthy discussion, came to the conclusion that the RALA business model was not a “get rich” one, but a well-developed strategy designed to meet the real needs of seniors in America.
Gene shared the background of how he started the RAL Academy by creating and running a number of residential-style assisted living communities himself. His initial motivation for the first RAL home came from a desire to provide a comfortable residence for his mother that offered exceptional care. As he navigated through details of real estate, finances, and hiring, training and managing competent care staff, it quickly became apparent that this model, not only offers a better solution for seniors, but it would also be a long-term investment solution for those wanted to begin providing this service in their communities.
Steve went on to learn how Gene took this model and developed a system to teach others to do the same. Now, years later, Gene has taught thousands of people how to open and run their own residential assisted living homes. His training is directly responsible for between 500 to 600 new residential-style assisted living communities across the U.S. that are creating jobs and serving seniors. Additionally, he has developed networks to support these RAL owners, creating a conference to unite investors, suppliers and service providers for all things relating to the building and operating of these communities.
“I have written about this before, however, I am more and more convinced that these small residential senior living communities are going to be an increasingly important part of the senior living/assisted living mix.”
“Traditionally, these small homes have — in many states — represented the last resort for seniors with limited financial resources. Yet, increasingly, they are becoming a boutique option for seniors wanting or needing higher levels of care at a reasonable cost.”
Steve goes on to admit, “What I am really puzzling over right now is whether or not these communities are pulling residents away from large scale senior living or actually expanding the market, by appealing to seniors who would not have an interest in big box senior living.”
The truth, with all the new RAL style home being created, there is not a significant exodus of seniors from big-box facilities to residential assisted living and this is primarily because there is just such a huge demand for senior housing. The size of the senior population in this country is growing at a rate not seen before, and it is only going to increase for the next 25 years.
The demographic boom caused by an aging baby boomer population is going to mean that an enormous number of seniors needing assistance with daily living will enter their twilight years in the next few decades. The demand for assisted living will drive the market to create the supply.
Steve is right though, there is some competition in the market between the big-box facilities and smaller, more boutique-style assisted living homes. Fortunately, this competition will spur both sectors of this industry to raise standards and offer better services to our seniors and at lower prices, which is good for all of us.
We are delighted that Steve took the time to learn about the reality behind residential assisted living and the opportunities it affords. It’s always refreshing when we are able to take a deeper look at something that we previously judged before knowing all the facts, and come to realize how much we appreciate something that we might have otherwise completely missed out on.
For the average person there is so much confusion surrounding assisted living. Most of this comes from a false perception of assisted living as the sterile, institution-like big box facilities that spark notions of isolation and an uncaring staff. Fortunately, the truth is that there are plenty of assisted living homes across the nation that are full of caregivers who love their jobs and love caring for seniors. They are not there just to do a job, but they enjoy engaging with the elderly and partnering with their families to provide exceptional care in a comfortable home-style environment.
According to AARP, there are tens of millions of seniors in America today who will need assistance with their activities of daily living. That doesn’t mean that they are all going to move into an assisted living home or facility, but they will need help. They’re at home all alone and maybe they can take care of themselves, but frankly, many of them would much rather have people around them.
We know that being with others as we age is vital to our health, mental stability and overall wellness. Residential assisted living is making an impact on seniors and changing the face of assisted living for decades to come. We are excited to be a part of this change and we look forward to partnering with any of you who are also interested in Doing Good and Doing Well.