A Ziegler Profile of Faith-Based Heritage in Senior Living

Reprinted from Ziegler Financial Services, a CHHSM partner.  Written by Lisa McCracken, director of Senior Living Research and Development 

Ziegler has received several inquiries lately regarding faith-based senior living and we thought it was timely to issue an updated Z-News article on the topic. We are coming off of the spring conference season whereby many of the faith-based associations convened during annual meetings to celebrate their heritage and identify collaborative opportunities among provider members.
Recent data from the 2016 LeadingAge Ziegler 150 (“LZ 150”) publication reveals that nearly 85% of the largest not-for-profit providers have some type of faith-based affiliation. Less than 3% have an affiliation with a Fraternal group (e.g., Masonic) and less than 1% are affiliated with a military heritage. The remaining 12% of the largest not-for-profit senior living providers in the country have no formal affiliation.

Lutheran-affiliated senior living organizations represent the largest proportion of market-rate senior living units among the LZ 150, with nearly 47,000 total units across the U.S. This is followed by Presbyterian-affiliated organizations with more than 35,000 market-rate units and Catholic senior living systems with more than 26,000 units. In total, these faith-based organizations represent more than 210,000 market-rate housing units for seniors throughout the country. While these numbers reflect multi-site market-rate units, it is important to note that many of these provider organizations also offer Affordable Housing residences, as well as an array of home and community-based services.

Ziegler has created a subset of reports for a number of the different faith-based groups to further examine the characteristics of the various cohorts. For example, we know that Catholic Senior Living providers are generally more oriented toward healthcare and skilled-nursing services while the Presbyterian-affiliated organizations are heavier with Independent Living and Life Plan Community offerings. Each peer group has a unique history that has crafted the suite of services offered through their ministry.

Naming, Branding & Faith Over the past few years, Ziegler has reported a number of times the trend towards renaming the organization and, in the past five years alone, Ziegler has tracked over 50 not-for-profit senior living organizations that have changed their name. Among those 50, 75% have a faith-based affiliation. The question that is often asked is the importance of the faith in the naming. The answer is not a surprising one and is evident in the examples below. Organizations vary in the importance of having the faith-based affiliation as part of the name. Some keep it in a revised name and see it as important while others do not include it in an updated brand. A lack of inclusion in the name does not mean a drop in the affiliation. A number of organizations who have dropped the specific faith heritage in the name have also transitioned to adding a tagline, often which includes words like Faith, Christ’s Love or another similar term. Others that may not include specific mentions of Methodist, Lutheran or Presbyterian may in turn, select names that have a biblical or faith-based meaning.

CHHSM-member ministries, Embrace Living Communities (formerly Consecra Housing Network) and EHM Senior Solutions (formerly Evangelical Homes of Michigan), related to the United Church of Christ, are two examples of ministries that went through extensive renaming and rebranding processes.

Without a doubt, faith-based affiliations in senior living remain a significant part of the identity of the not-for-profit aging services sector. It is true that some of the future resident generations may follow and define their faith differently than previous cohorts, but history cannot be changed. The founding principles of these organizations remain unchanged and are an important part of the culture, values and mission within the organization.
If you have any questions regarding the items in this article or anything else related to Ziegler, please reach out to the Ziegler banker in your region.

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