Monthly Archives: January 2017

Designing and Funding Your Senior Living Facility

After your building master plan, focus on market drivers.

In our recent blog post, Taking Your Senior Living Facility from Concept to Completion, we discussed the facility planning steps to take when launching a new building project. After evaluating your market, site, and program offerings, it’s time to develop design concepts and elements that will improve your marketability and meet the needs of your residents and staff. Once those are in place, you will be able to create your financing plan, bringing you into the most exciting stretch of facility planning: implementing your project.

Making your facility attractive to staff, residents

It’s no secret that competition among senior living facilities is high. Families not only search for the best care for their loved ones, they also search for a facility that brings vitality to seniors’ lives. As a result of these market demands, increasingly, designs for new and remodeled senior living facilities showcase:

  • Separation of skilled and long-term care areas from independent and assisted living areas
  • Decentralized nursing areas
  • High-quality interior design elements, like residential finishes and natural lighting
  • Private units with private baths and European-style curbless showers
  • Expansive public gathering areas
  • Restaurant dining experiences
  • Beautiful and secure outdoor courtyards and walkways

These days, when individuals transition to life beyond their own house, they want to live in a place that reflects a sense of home. Our senior living architects stay atop these trends to deliver design concepts that fit your market and meet the needs of your program and service offerings. And, we don’t stop at one design concept. We create multiple concepts to fit your site and budget while ensuring your facility exceeds expectations of current and future residents and staff.

Budgeting for your senior living facility 

Budgeting for your project should go beyond building costs to include:

  • Acquisition and site development costs
  • Infrastructure costs, like site utilities and municipal requirements
  • Furnishings, fixtures and technology
  • Financing and project development costs

Once this budget is complete, we encourage you to develop five-year financial projections to ensure long-term sustainability. This financial model should take the following into consideration:

  • Occupancy projections
  • Census and payer mix assumptions
  • Other revenue sources
  • Operational cost projections
  • Debt service projections

The budget, financial model and building design concepts are integral to securing financing. In addition, your lender likely will request information on facility ownership and your senior leadership team.

We also encourage you to consider forms of financing outside of traditional bank loans. To get your senior living facility project off the ground, you may also want to develop investor partnerships or seek funds from national venture capital companies.


If you have questions about senior living facility design or financing, we are here to help. Contact us via email, or call 920-969-9344 for a free consultation.

Taking Your Senior Living Facility from Concept to Completion

Evaluating your market, site and program offerings

If you are considering building a new senior living facility, launching an extensive master planning process will help ensure your project gets off the ground smoothly, stays on budget and reaches completion on time. Community Living Solutions prides itself on being as much of a master planning firm as it is an architectural or construction firm.

To help you with your facility planning, we’d like to share our process to bring our clients’ vision to fruition.

Kickoff to facility planning

Generally, when building a new facility, the timeline from the planning kickoff meeting to building occupancy is approximately two and a half years. We start with an initial concept meeting and follow that up immediately with ordering a market evaluation.

The market evaluation

Market evaluations help ensure your market will support the services and care you plan to provide in your new facility. The market study should take into account the full continuum of care you are planning for your facility—independent living, assisted living, long-term care and rehabilitation services. When conducting a market study, we focus on the following attributes:

  • The market area. What is the physical area you will be serving, and how many senior living community competitors are in this market area?
  • Age and income analysis. This data tells you whether your market area can support your facility today and in the future, especially in relation to the number of competitors you identify.
  • Demand and competition summary. Data exists to tell you whether your market area has unmet demand or excess demand for each type of senior living community.

Analyzing each of these areas will provide you with the data needed to determine whether you are, indeed, filling a need in your market and will help you determine capacity levels once the building is complete.

Site evaluation and selection

Choosing a site for your new facility takes into account both socioeconomic and physical considerations. When helping clients choose a site, we evaluate:

  • Available locations within the market area
  • Labor market conditions to ensure you can meet needed staffing levels
  • Accessibility to the site
  • Environmental conditions, both aesthetic and condition of the site
  • Topography to help determine whether we will face challenges in the construction phase
  • Receptivity of the municipality where the facility will locate, as well as any financial assistance the municipality may have to offer
  • Costs, including municipal and development costs
Program and service offering evaluation

Before we begin designing your new senior living facility, we like to know what programs and services you plan to provide. This will help us design a community that allows your staff to work efficiently while providing the best care and comfort for your residents. It also helps ensure we construct a facility that will fit your needs today and for many years to come. Answering the following questions will help you determine your program and service offerings:

  • What are the future market conditions?
  • What will your residents require and want in the future?
  • What will you need to do to compete with other local facilities at all levels of care?
  • How will the increase in acuity affect your delivery of care?
  • What is the strength of your referring hospital?
  • How will things like bundle payments, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and alternate payment sources affect you?

As part of this evaluation, it’s also best to determine the ROI of your services. Here are questions to help guide you through the process:

  • Will the new facility require you to increase your staff counts?
  • Will you need to hire a nurse practitioner or a doctor?
  • Will the services be revenue generators?
  • Will you improve quality of care?
  • Will you improve your residents’ quality of life?
  • Will your services increase referrals and admissions?

At this point in the building master plan process, we stop to review the feasibility of constructing a new senior living community. During this five- to six-month process, we’ve conducted a market evaluation, analyzed available sites and their cost, and determined program and service needs. If we find the market can bear a new facility and more services, and we have a feasible site or sites to choose, we will give the green light to move to the next steps in the master planning process.

In our next blog, we discuss how we bring building concepts to life with conceptual master plan designs and solutions, as well as how we assist clients in securing financing for the new facility.


If you are interested in learning about our senior living facility master planning, architecture and construction services, contact us or call 920-969-9344 for a complimentary get-to-know-you meeting.

St. Paul Elder Services Building Project

St Paul Elders

Comprehensive senior living facility project

Community Living Solutions was proud to help St. Paul Elder Services celebrate after completing several projects on the St. Paul campus in Kaukauna, Wis.

St. Paul, which offers rehabilitation services, as well as assisted living and long-term skilled nursing care, worked with CLS to complete several facility updates and a new building addition. CLS provided master planning, architectural design and construction management services for the following projects:

  • Relocate a 12-bed rehabilitation facility into a new dedicated wing on the St. Paul campus.
  • Add a 24-bed assisted living memory care Community Based Residential Facility (CBRF) to the campus. St. Paul Manor opened in July 2016.
  • Renovate the existing skilled nursing facility common areas by:
    • Transforming the centralized nursing station and services with a decentralized model
    • Renovating existing dining rooms and living spaces

Creating efficiencies in a homelike environment

Community Living Solutions used the opportunity to help St. Paul Elder Services team members be more efficient while providing residents with a feeling of home.

  • A new dedicated rehabilitation entrance meant patients would not need to enter through the nursing home.
  • A new larger therapy gym inside the rehab area allowed therapists to move their offices closer to the gym from another area of the campus.
  • A new front entrance for the skilled nursing wing replaced a maze of corridors with a gradual ramp that overlooks a meditation garden.
  • A larger dining room for RCAC residents mean they can dine at one time rather than in shifts.
  • An institutional-style central nursing station was replaced with a hearth living room area.

St. Paul Elder Services President & CEO Sondra Norder, NHA, JD, said she, her board and her team were extremely satisfied in their decision to hire CLS.

“Our decision to select Community Living Solutions as our design/build firm was constantly proven to be the right decision over our two years of projects,” she said.  “We chose them due to their unmatched expertise in skilled nursing and senior living and the confidence that we had in their creativity in use of space.  They did not disappoint.  They put great thought into the functionality of the buildings for both older adults and their caregivers, they knew every regulatory requirement inside and out, and their ideas for maximizing space and making logical connections to existing facilities resulted in flawless designs and an efficient work environment.

“We feared a partner that would do things “cookie cutter,” but they took the time to truly understand our needs, incorporate our wishes, and develop a one-of-a-kind design.  Their commitment to client service came through in their constant and clear communication, easy to understand documents, and immediate concern resolution.  Our projects were completed on time and within budget to boot.  We could not be happier with how they partnered with us or the results they provided.”

CLS plan, design, construction services

If you are interested in talking with us about how our master planning, architectural design and construction management services can help you, contact us at 920-969-9344.

For more details on the St. Paul Elder Services project, visit our Portfolio.

Mentors or Mirrors?

Mentors photo for web

By Troy Ann Kasuboski, Director of Business Development

Who doesn’t admire someone with praises for the people that have made a difference in their life?  For many years, I admired those who had a mentor and claimed to have no such person in my life.  Those with fond mentor memories are often people very passionate about what they do for a living.

At a recent open house for a new CBRF and Memory Care Resource Center, I was delighted to see the familiar face of Dr. Susan McFadden, my professor of Adult Development and Aging during the college years.  I wasn’t alone as a number of the health care professionals there had the pleasure of her tutelage as well.

As a book author on many dementia related topics, Dr. McFadden shared with me her input of the benefit of certain architectural design elements within the memory care area, from the separate entry to the communal and music therapy spaces.

The biggest gem in this unexpected reunion was to hear from all the passionate people working there who had been in her classes as well.  These former students are those who not only look to make a difference in the lives of others, but in the eyes of many, truly are the difference.

Does a mentor create passionate professionals or is the mentor like the Wizard of Oz—merely  turning a mirror to the passion that resided within all along?

The passion stories are on the way—we’ll let you be the judge.