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Reversing the Trend of Senior Living Occupancy Decline

How one community went from 76% to 100% sold.

By Ames Allen, regional marketing and sales director at Life Care Services


When Life Care Services, An LCS® Company began managing Capital Manor in 2010, the community had low occupancy and was financially challenged.

Capital Manor’s leadership and Board understood that building occupancy and reversing their downward trend required a solid plan and a management partner who understood how to successfully overcome the challenges they were facing. The Board selected Life Care Services for many reasons, including the company’s approach to respecting the existing culture at the community, its strength in marketing and sales, and its strong history as an operator.

When Life Care Services began managing Capital Manor in July of 2010, occupancy was at 76%. It took some time to build momentum, but by July 2014, Capital Manor was at 95% occupancy and hit 100% occupancy later that year.

“We consistently reminded the Board how much empty units cost the community, and how significant the return would be if those residences were consistently filled,” said David Lewis, executive director of Capital Manor.

The process of increasing occupancy at Capital Manor started by evaluating the community, everything from day-to-day operations and marketing and sales to compliance and human resources. After a thorough examination, Capital Manor applied LCS Best Practices:

  • Hiring a professional advertising agency to create a consistent voice and promote their new community enhancements
  • Training the sales team in best practices to help them turn prospects into leads and leads into sales
  • Incorporating services and amenities to meet the expectations of today’s seniors
  • Performing a residence value assessment that resulted in rightsizing the pricing structure

When Marketing and Operations Speak the Same Language

With a plan in place, marketing and operations quickly started working together to build occupancy, ultimately filling the community.

Because the residences hadn’t been updated since 1963, studio and one-bedroom apartments didn’t have kitchens. Instead there was a common kitchen on each floor. To better meet the needs of today’s seniors, Life Care Services recommended remodeling to make two-bedroom apartments complete with kitchens. This generated interest in residences that had been consistently vacant.

Making the community more marketable also energized the sales team.

100% Sold and Expansion on the Horizon

Capital Manor has been such a success that they’re now launching an expansion. Plans include building more independent living residences and updating the health care center, dining room and fitness center. “We’re on solid footing because of great team work and our partnership with Life Care Services,” said David.

Parting Thought

“If you’ve seen one Life Care Services community, you’ve only seen one Life Care Services community,” said David. “Because they don’t take a cookie-cutter approach. They respect the culture of Capital Manor and work with our local Board, making decisions that align with the needs of the community.”

Want to increase your occupancy? Learn more about how you and Life Care Services can work together to build a stronger community.

About Ames Allen:

Ames Allen is a Life Care Services marketing and sales director for Life Plan Communities in the Midwest and on the West Coast. She has been with Life Care Services since October 2008. Before that, she was the corporate sales and marketing director for a San Francisco Bay Area company that owns and manages 10 independent living, assisted living and dementia care communities. Ames graduated from California State University-Chico in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English, with a minor in gerontology. Ames did graduate work in gerontological marketing at California State University-Sacramento.