Unexpected vacancies can happen at even the best senior living communities, hurting census numbers, slashing income and affecting morale. A San Francisco-based startup, determined to solve this and other problems senior living communities face, has developed a system to temporarily fill unoccupied rooms to maximize providers’ bottom lines. The system has even brought some communities new long-term residents, according to the company’s founder.
The whole system is blending various sharing economy business models and tools. Specifically, the startup—Seniorly—has emulated Airbnb and is partnering with Lyft, Seniorly founder and CEO Arthur Bretschneider told Senior Housing News.
Airbnb for senior living
Founded as a senior living lead generator, Seniorly recently rolled out a tool designed to make booking short-term care stays at assisted living communities “as simple and easy as booking a place to stay on Airbnb,” the company said in a press release.
Currently, Seniorly contracts with about 1,000 senior living communities, most of which are in California. The short-term stay tool is being used at about 100 communities in Northern California, with expansion into Southern California expected soon.
Seniorly’s short-term stay tool involves an inventory management system, which tracks which senior living communities in a senior’s area have temporary vacancies, Bretschneider explained.
“We work directly with senior housing providers to keep track of availabilities in their communities,” Bretschneider said. “When communities have vacancies and they’re open to respite, they can show the rooms to customers.”
Seniorly’s platform enables senior living communities to update their room availability, pricing and minimum length-of-stay requirements in real-time, so as to remain as accurate as possible. Seniors or their family members can search Seniorly’s website to find available rooms in their area, start the booking process and even pay for the stays in advance.
In some cases, seniors and their families choose short-term stays in assisted living communities when family caregivers go on vacation, or they otherwise need a bit of a break, Bretschneider said. Even if seniors have no plans to move into senior living communities full-time, these respite stays can give them a glimpse into what life in a senior living community is actually like.
And some seniors end their stays having warmed to the idea.
“There are a good number of folks who end up wanting long-term care services after their short-term stays,” Bretschneider said.
After simplifying the process of locating and booking short-term care stays in advance, Seniorly decided to go one step further and handle seniors’ transportation to and from the short-term stays as well.
“We wanted to not only help seniors find the communities, book and pay for them, but also consider the transportation,” Bretschneider explained.
So, the startup partnered with San Francisco-based ride sharing company Lyft to transport seniors to and from their short-term stays.
Now, with a phone call to Seniorly, seniors and their families can request on-demand rides to and from short-term care stays at senior living communities. The company will use Lyft Concierge to arrange rides for their customers who aren’t used to mobile apps, or do not use a smartphone at all.
“This partnership was sort of a missing link for us in creating the ‘full package’,” Bretschneider said. “We’re actually helping folks experience that whole short-term stay.”
Written by Mary Kate Nelson