Seniors Housing Business

ASHA 2018

Seniors Housing Business is the magazine that helps you navigate the evolution of the seniors housing industry.

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AS H A 50 70 2018 ASHA 50 2018 By Matt Valley Michael Grust likes to say that today's seniors housing owners and operators are "inventing" a business. As co-founder and CEO of Solana Beach, California-based Senior Resource Group — currently ranked No. 28 on ASHA's list of the largest 50 operators in the United States — Grust should know. He's been immersed in the industry for three decades, and his company has built up a portfolio of 32 properties totaling 5,983 units. "When I say inventing a business, I mean that senior living in today's form never existed 30 to 35 years ago. Back then, there were certain com- munal environments where residents of not-for-profit communities lived in retirement homes," says Grust, who began his two-year term as the chairman of ASHA in February. "As this industry has evolved, there is recognition that it is health- care, hospitality and real estate. It's a confluence of a lot of disciplines," he adds. Grust has a reverence for the complexity of the seniors housing business model in general. "You live with your customer. You are balanc- ing an environment where you want to compel people to move in on the independent living side with the promise of offering quality of life in hospitality and engagement. And as people age in place, you have to be able to deliver care in an envi- ronment where you are essentially responsible for people's lives." That's a tall order to be sure. Against that backdrop, Grust and ASHA President David Schless, who has been at the helm for a quarter century, recently discussed in detail the association's strategic initiatives, challenges and opportunities during a wide-ranging interview. What follows are their edited remarks. Carrying the baton Michael, as the new chairman of ASHA, have you set any specific goals for the organization during your two-year term? Michael Grust: I wouldn't say that I have set specific or different goals. I have a commitment to continue to implement a couple important stra- tegic initiatives. First and foremost, it is vitally important to continue to promote and educate the consumer about senior living. Where You Live Matters (an information-rich website and social media initiative launched by ASHA in January 2016 for seniors and their families) is certainly alive and well, growing and evolving. It's important to give consum- ers an understanding of how to go about the due diligence process when searching for a community — what to look for and what to expect. And once they've completed the due diligence process, who are the oper- ators they can turn to? We're asking somebody to move into a communal setting. It's a daunting and emo- tional process. It's an industry that is evolving, and leaving your home is a complex decision. We are doing a good job of educating consumers, heightening their awareness and giving them the roadmap, the blueprint as to what's important and what to look for. The Where You Live Matters initiative is extremely important for our profes- sion, and I am very committed to ensuring the success of our con- Interview with Michael Grust and David Schless With the elderly population growing rapidly and living longer than ever, ASHA's leadership team is doubling down on providing education and research to guide its members. Leading the Way to Capitalize on a Bright Future

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