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Start Small: A Guide to Starting in Assisted Living

Why is smaller better in assisted living?

There are several answers to this question which we will unpack and illuminate for you in this article. If you have been curious about the investment opportunities in residential assisted living, putting together a residential assisted living business plan, and how to start your own assisted living business you’ve come to the right place.

The country is facing a rapid surge in the need for assisted living, which is not surprising and is very exciting! We want to help you understand the reasons why small residential assisted living homes are the best choice for seniors in need of housing during their golden years. It’s also a great solution for the families of those seniors who want the very best for their loved ones, and an undeniably beneficial option for those looking for a rewarding and lucrative impact investment opportunity. You can build a meaningful financial legacy with just one residential assisted living home. Let’s explore not only why smaller is better, but why now is the best time to get involved.

A Small Assisted Living Home is What Seniors Want

To be successful with your investing and philanthropic endeavors in this industry, you must first understand the need and desire today’s aging adults have. Large communities with 100-200 residents living in huge assisted living facilities are simply not what they want, or need.

Seniors are not seeking to live in just “home-like” environments, they want to spend their golden years in actual homes. This is what small house senior living is all about – actual homes located in traditional neighborhoods where Mom and Dad can share a family-like living space with 6-12 other seniors. It’s not only better and safer for a multitude of reasons, but it’s where today’s seniors would rather be.

This article will explore the top benefits of living in a small assisted living home, rather than a big-box facility. These are the advantages that every investor, real estate entrepreneur, and assisted living business owner and operator needs to know.

To envision the best solution to senior housing, start by visualizing where you would want to live out your own golden years. If we are fortunate enough to live a long life, aging and longevity will happen to us all. After retirement, when your kids start having kids, and your twilight years start rapidly approaching, who will take care of you?

With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day the demand for senior care is only growing, and research has shown that at least 25 percent of seniors will need help with activities of daily living.

Knowing this reality, in what type of setting would you prefer to live?

Instead of occupying 1 of 200 beds in a large nursing home, most people prefer an option that allows them to maintain their comfort and individuality rather than being counted as just another number. Nowadays, seniors want to spend their golden years in a comfortable home with a few other seniors with similar interests. They seek to share connections and backgrounds.

Baby boomers especially prefer caregivers who know them and their families, understand their health issues, and can anticipate their daily needs with ease. While it’s difficult for younger adults to picture themselves at this point, no one is invincible and aging comes for us all.

So what is a nursing home? And how does it compare to a residential care facility?

Simply put, nursing homes are big-box facilities that house numerous aging adults who need assistance with things ranging from activities of daily living (ADL) to support through serious health issues. They are basically the next common option for care for the elderly outside of a hospital. It’s more difficult to get personalized, quality care for loved ones in large nursing homes, and people often feel more like a number than an actual person with individualized needs and preferences.

There are also assisted living communities for aging adults that offer similar care services and provide more opportunities for fun activities, but these are typically still quite large. Even if they are small assisted living facilities, it’s difficult to match the quality of care and sense of belonging that is found in RAL homes (or private assisted living homes). Some might have senior living apartments available so the residents can remain more independent. Usually, the seniors in these assisted living facilities don’t require the same level of medical care as those in nursing homes.

What Is The Difference Between Residential Care And Assisted Living?

Let’s break down a couple of the primary differences very clearly.

Assisted living facility:

  • Generalized, changing, questionable care
  • Difficult to pinpoint and control spread of disease
  • Limited opportunities for individuality, deep friendships, and meaningful activities
  • Difficult to identify a sense of connection to the bigger community and feelings of safety

Residential care facility:

  • Personalized, consistent, compassionate care
  • Much easier to notice, pinpoint, and prevent spread of disease
  • Unlimited opportunities for individuality, bonding, and meaningful activities
  • Feelings of connection to the surrounding community and real safety and comfor

Fortunately, residential assisted living homes not only provide safer, more preferred living experiences for seniors, they also offer an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors who want to be successful in business while also helping others.

That is what residential assisted living is all about – real homes for seniors. It’s a real solution to a real problem for real people.

Does The Size Of An Assisted Living Home Really Matter?

The size of an assisted living facility is measured based on the number of beds, above all other things. But what does size have to do with anything? The size of an assisted living facility makes a huge difference in the overall experience of senior living. It determines the quality of services offered along with five major benefits.

Top Benefits of Living in a Small Assisted Living Home

When making a decision to invest in or start a residential assisted living business, it is important to consider what seniors are gravitating toward. There are several reasons why small assisted living homes are a better investment – it allows entrepreneurs to do good for seniors while doing well financially.

The size of an assisted living facility makes a huge difference in the overall experience of senior living.

The following five benefits are key reasons why small assisted living homes are most desired.

  1. Personalized Care
    Personalized care is one of the most beneficial perks of a small assisted living home. Fewer residents in the home allow caregivers to connect with seniors personally, physically, and mentally. This deeper level of connectivity enables staff to engage in the daily routines of residents, knowing their habits, preferences and medicine schedules. As a result, these small assisted living homes more easily translate to a higher quality of care.
  2. Privacy
    Personal space is a plus for seniors living in residential assisted living homes – it allows for privacy. Residents get their privacy just as they would in their personal homes.
    Residents share common areas such as the living room and kitchen, but each resident has a comfortable private bedroom similar to their previous home environment.
  3. Less Intimidating Experience
    Moving from your quiet, comfortable home and being placed into a new setting is often an overwhelming experience. The idea of sharing space with strangers might feel frightening to some. However, the good thing about smaller assisted living homes is that they accommodate fewer residents, create plenty of privacy, and more personalized attention.
  4. Fosters Closer Resident Relationships
    Residential assisted living homes foster a family-like environment that eliminates concerns of social isolation. Small senior housing makes it easier for seniors to share similar interests, create friendships, and make new memories.
  5. Cost Effective
    One visual advantage of large, high-end nursing homes is the huge variety of amenities they provide for their residents. Unfortunately, amenities like fitness centers, swimming pools, and beauty salons seldom get used by seniors in their golden years. This creates added cost but does not frequently provide a convenience. The downside is that these high-end nursing homes charge exorbitant standard fees that many families cannot afford.

Smaller residential assisted living offers affordable living expenses that can accommodate more seniors. Small assisted living homes make up for the posh amenities with tailored attention and comfort at a more affordable price.

Investing In The Right Assisted Living Model

When the time comes to choose an assisted living solution, the best choice is a residential assisted home. Each assisted living home is different, so prior to making an investment in the industry, connect with us at the Residential Assisted Living Academy, and learn the proven model that helps investing entrepreneurs succeed while providing the highest care for seniors.

During the 3-Day Fast Track comprehensive course, Gene Guarino and his team of experts will show you how to invest, own, and operate your own residential assisted living homes. Start planning now by contacting the Residential Assisted Living Academy for more information about how you can “do good and do well” in this rapidly growing and lucrative industry.

Smaller is Better During a Pandemic

Residential assisted living homes primarily have less than a dozen residents with a couple of caregivers and a manager, which is better for seniors’ health and safety, especially during a pandemic.

The harsh reality today is that, in light of the Coronavirus, more people congregating in enclosed spaces are proving to have devastating consequences. What about seniors in assisted living? The solution is simple. Smaller is better. There are many types of assisted living available, but what is the most beneficial for seniors, what do they prefer, and what is best for their health and safety?

Residential assisted living provides seniors care and assistance in a small, home-like environment. Instead of 50 or even 100 seniors in a large facility filled with nurses, care staff, and countless other support staff coming and going, residential assisted living homes primarily have less than a dozen residents with a couple of caregivers and a manager. If an outside observer was looking for a solution to keeping seniors safe during this pandemic, the choice would be clear – keep seniors in smaller home-like environments. This is usually where seniors prefer to live anyway.

COVID-19 Primes Senior Living for Rise of Small-House Models

America finds itself ensnared with the continuing pandemic of COVID-19. When considering what is best for the most vulnerable among us, sensible measures reap great rewards. Isn’t smaller better? Smaller what? Smaller housing arrangements.

Residential assisted living homes are clearly more ideal for the present condition of public health and affairs in America. These homes are opposite the big-box facilities that are so common across the country. Plus, residential assisted living is more ideal to the way seniors prefer to live.

For today’s baby boomers, residential assisted living reminds them of growing up as a child… Big families, a house, a yard, neighbors to play with, games, and barbecues… especially in the summer. As such, small-house senior living may be well-suited to handle the disruptions of the COVID-19 era.

Jim Stroud, co-founder of Capital Senior Living, after leaving Capital at the end of 2008, set out to find the next generation of senior housing models. According to Jim, “Let’s figure out what model we think that the baby boomers will move into.” They aimed to discover a model that is flexible and resilient enough to withstand future change. Stroud told Senior Housing News, “We settled on the small-house concept.” Why the small-house concept? It’s more like home. Stroud’s vision became reality in Sonoma House Assisted Living & Alzheimer’s Care, a community with seven small-house buildings in Carrollton, Texas.

Sonoma House opened its doors in 2013, and in the years following, Stroud Companies spent time honing the community’s operational model. Now, Stroud believes the concept is ready for expansion. It’s only a matter of time before the big-box senior living companies embrace the small-house trend, too. “I’ve come from the big company mentality and understand it,” Stroud said. “The big companies are going to recognize this product type, and they’re going to recognize that smaller is better.”

There is a growing consensus that small-house senior living may emerge from the current era as a more attractive option, particularly if the model can prove its worth in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Smaller is proving to be better.

Small-House Success During COVID-19

Evidence is mounting to suggest that these smaller communities are better equipped to prevent the disease’s spread. How so? For clarity, let’s examine some case studies throughout America to capture the effect.

  1. Perhaps the most well-known example of the model is the Green House Project, a nonprofit that senior living innovator, Dr. Bill Thomas, founded in the early 2000s as an alternative to traditional long-term care settings. Today, there are 268 active Green House homes in the U.S.,
    about 80% of which are licensed to provide skilled care, and the overwhelming majority of them are non-profits. Green House properties typically house up to a dozen residents living in home- like facilities with private rooms, and are staffed by “universal workers” who provide a wide range of services and care. Green House operates with the philosophy of:
    • Autonomy for each resident
    • Resident-controlled care scheduling
    • Resident-driven meal planning
    • Resident-selected activity schedule & choice

What is the impact of COVID-19 on Green House Properties?

  • 9 out of 245 active Green House Project homes have reported a positive case of COVID-19
  • 6 deaths overall, according to Susan Ryan, the organization’s senior director

The smaller, less congregate nature of small homes is just one piece of the puzzle. The universal worker concept means the communities have fewer workers coming and going, and caregivers are able to develop much closer relationships with residents. This gives them an edge in detecting health issues or behavior that is out of the ordinary. The intimacy developed in these types of homes gives way to better disease control and early detection of any sort of symptom.

There are also numerous other senior living providers that have mirrored the approach in creating their own household models that aren’t officially affiliated with the organization. Though these vary in size and scope, most provide housing for no more than 1-2 dozen residents. With a lower census and greater capacity for social distance, smaller is better. Some of these small-house senior living homes have reported minimal levels of COVID-19 and have touted the model as the key to their success.

  1. Another example is Assured Assisted Living – a company headquartered in Castle Rock, Colorado. To date, their COVID-19 results are as follows:10 small-home communities in the Centennial State
    • 10 small-home communities in the Centennial State
    • 3 positive cases of COVID-19 among its residents
    • All 3 were asymptomatic, but were able to be successfully diagnosed
    • All 3 have since recovered
In smaller homes, there are fewer workers coming and going, which enables caregivers to develop close relationships with the residents and notice signs or symptoms of disease early.

Again, Francis LeGasse Jr., President, and COO of Assured Assisted Living, credits the smaller model as the reason for such early detection and swift response to the Coronavirus pandemic. And even if COVID-19 does hit one of its buildings hard, LeGasse is confident that having a smaller model puts Assured Assisted Living in a better position to adapt and address the health needs of its residents. In fact, Assured plans to use its COVID-19 success in a new “great things come in small packages” marketing campaign.

  1. Shepherd Premier, a McHenry, Illinois-based senior housing provider with five small homes, has not yet seen a case of COVID-19 among its residents or workers, according to CEO Brandon Schwab. Like LeGasse, Schwab believes the small-house model is much more amenable to infection control.

    “When a home is 10 to 15 beds compared to 150 to 200, you can control the spread of anything drastically easier,” says Schwab. “I feel that this type of home is going to be the Uber of this particular industry.” In essence, most investors and business experts are pointing to this being a significant market disruption. The small-house model will revolutionize senior living in much the same way as Uber did the taxi cab industry and Amazon the big-box mall.
  2. Boise, Idaho-based BeeHive Homes has:
  • 216 small-home senior living franchises across the U.S.
  • a small number of positive Covid-19 cases among staff
  • 1 case among its residents
  • 0 deaths reported thus far

The model’s flexibility, coupled with its more intimate nature, helps with infection control measures, according to BeeHive co-owner, Dennis Toland. It is becoming blatantly clear – the smaller residential assisted living home model works for more than agreeable housing. It is safer.

Solution vs. Problems

Among architects and even some developers, there is a sense that many senior living residents will take note of the small-house model’s success after the pandemic. Demand for residential assisted living homes is already on the rise and looks to grow even faster. However, the small-house or residential assisted living home model is not a “cookie-cutter” model. This concept is diverse. The small-house communities of tomorrow may resemble single-family homes, as many small-home communities do today. This is far from the only option, and flexibility abounds as this concept of senior living fits anywhere in America.

“It can be rural, it can be suburban, it could be a single-family home that’s detached, or it could be a vertical model,” Cinelli says, referring specifically to the Green House Project model. Residential assisted living homes are found in commercial zones as well as residential. They will fit wherever they are needed.

Assisted living providers will navigate the post-COVID world in a manner similar to how assisted living and memory care providers hammered out their model in the early 1990s. Larger senior living companies will embrace the trend eventually. Meanwhile, smaller residential assisted living homes continue to thrive.

Smaller Is Better For Investors

There are some positive trends concerning the need for assisted living to go smaller due to health and security benefits during the COVID era. In addition to the personal demands of the baby boomer demographic, there is a shift away from large nursing facilities to smaller residential homes in the wake of the Coronavirus. This shift toward “Smaller is Better” is reaping huge dividends for savvy investors.

The Rising Demand Of Small Assisted Living Homes

Who said, “bigger is better”? Since when has “big” always meant better, stronger, or more productive?

This may have been the idea at the dawn of the industrial revolution in America, but it has dwindled in the information revolution. Why?

The needs of Americans have changed.

Flexibility, speed, and adjustment supersede big, clunky, and slow. Why? Life has changed. Americans no longer reside in one location for multiple decades.

This has become the reality for seniors, especially baby boomers. Relocation is a part of life in America and flexibility matters. In addition, COVID-19 has currently disrupted our way of living. Flexibility is more vital today than it has been in the past 25 years. The sheer size of many nursing home facilities is unconducive and counterproductive to flexibility.

What we have discovered in the senior living industry is bigger absolutely does not equate to better.

What can be done to combat the pandemic among seniors? What needs to happen to ensure safety for our seniors?

Smaller And Sleeker Is Safer

Residential assisted living continues to revolutionize the senior living industry. The big-box senior living industry is positively affected by the growing number of smaller residential assisted living homes throughout America.

COVID-19 hit large senior living facilities hard, but smaller residential assisted living homes are better at weathering pandemics. How so?

A smaller number of residents, a smaller number of more responsible and accountable staff, and flexibility in operating make for a safer, more conducive environment. Seniors residing in residential assisted living homes are able to maintain safe social interaction while receiving quality care.

One more thing as to why smaller residential assisted living homes are best. Baby boomers do not want to reside in traditional nursing facilities. Therefore, the demographic shift in the market favors residential assisted living.

Are you ready to meet the needs of this demographic? Are you ready to build a business that can provide for your family for generations to come? Are you interested in providing a safe and socially interactive environment for seniors? Join the Residential Assisted Living Academy today. To get started, check out our other articles about developing your residential assisted plan, and see how the RAL Academy can equip you for success.

Small House Success

The expression, “Smaller and Sleeker is Safer,” exemplifies why so much success has been associated with residential assisted living. Many big-box senior living facilities have had to cease all visitation of any kind in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This means preserving health comes at a large expense – growth. Without proper tours, residents are far less likely to move in. Things are much different in residential assisted living homes.

Most importantly, the daily life of residents in smaller homes has changed very little because they are smaller, more carefully supervised, and far more flexible. Disease mitigation measures are easier to implement in residential assisted living homes.

Furthermore, the number of visitors is far less and can easily be adjusted to accommodate safety measures. As the pandemic continues, the numbers are proving that smaller is safer.

The RAL Home Has a Variety of Advantages

  • Baby boomers want the independence offered in a Residential Assisted Living home.
  • The comforts of “home” are more available in a RAL home.
  • The presence of a neighborhood makes residents more comfortable.
  • The quality of care is more personalized.
  • Meals are more suited to the resident’s desires and health needs.
  • External visitor traffic is far less in the RAL home.
  • Safety measures are more easily and comprehensively implemented.
  • COVID-19 mitigation necessities are more easily implemented without compromising socialization.

Industry experts favor the ability of residential assisted living homes to deal with pandemics far better than a larger facility.

  1. Residents can easily be quarantined or relocated for the safety of all.
  2. Changes in health and demeanor are noticed much quicker when fewer residents are under the care of small number of attentive staff persons.
  3. The emergence of symptoms, even very early on, are noticed much quicker in patients in the RAL home as opposed to the larger facility. Especially some of the more subtle ones:
    a. Loss of taste
    b. Loss of appetite
    c. Loss of smell
    d. Low grade fever
  4. A quicker initiation of treatment or hospitalization seems to be easier to execute in the RAL home as opposed to the larger facility.

To be honest, it is just common sense.

Residential assisted living homes with 5 to 15 beds can react and mitigate disease spread far better than a facility with 150 to 200 beds.

The sheer numbers favor smaller homes. So, it is safe to say, smaller is not only safer, it is the way of the future for assisted living.

Overcoming Problems With Solutions

While demographic shifts are occurring geographically, many people choose to reside where they have for many years. In other words, people in America live in urban, suburban, and rural communities. What’s the significance?

Developers have noticed how residential assisted living homes are adaptable in any setting. These homes are just as effective in suburban America and urban America as they are in rural America. They fit anywhere.

In addition, staff can be adequately protected and situated to prevent the spread of disease as well. The same staff can assist the same patients on an ongoing basis.

Therefore, as long as personal protective equipment is available and specialized training is implemented, staff can care for residents quite well. If hospitalization becomes necessary, this decision can be made early on in an effort to preserve health and save lives.

The Residential Assisted Living Academy Revolutionizing The Industry

No matter what obstacle is placed in your path as an investor, owner, or operator, the Residential Assisted Living Academy has the support needed to succeed.

Who said, “bigger is better?” What year is this? Let’s be honest, in our technologically savvy society, flexibility is key to success. Smaller and sleeker is the way, and when you own and operate a Residential Assisted Living home, you can reap big rewards along with big profits.

Learn how by aligning yourself with the Residential Assisted Living Academy now. Gene Guarino and his team of experts are revolutionizing the industry with a model for small residential assisted living homes. You won’t regret attending the 3-Day Fast Track course to learn everything from A-Z about investing, owning, and operating residential assisted living homes.

Do Good and Do Well

Smaller is proving on a daily basis to be better. Care is better. Engagement is better. Above all else, safety is logically more feasible in these smaller settings. Residential assisted living homes are primed to take America into the future as the optimal senior living model.

To learn more information or get assistance, visit and get ready for the next big investment opportunity of a lifetime. This winning business blueprint will help you get started and scale your business and profits. Use the right resources and learn a better way to launch a successful assisted living business.

Simply put, smaller is better.

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Gene Guarino


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