10 Most-Read Senior Housing News Stories of 2021 – Senior Housing News

While senior living operators continued to battle the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, the industry was being reshaped by blockbuster deals.

It’s no surprise that Atria Senior Living’s acquisition of Holiday Retirement — with Welltower (NYSE: WELL) investing in 86 Holiday properties — led to the most-read story on Senior Housing News in the last 12 months. The deal combined two of the largest operators in the United States, and laid the groundwork for the venerable Holiday portfolio to serve yet another generation of older adults.

But this was far from the only notable deal of the year. Welltower was particularly active, and the company’s $1.3 billion acquisition of four portfolios led to a top-10 SHN story. Another major real estate investment trust — Ventas (NYSE: VTR) — also made splashy headlines, with its $2.3 billion acquisition of another REIT, New Senior.

Readers were also avid for information about Lifespark’s innovative move to acquire Tealwood Senior Living and the senior living implications of Cano Health’s SPAC deal.

Other stories reflected the ongoing toll and pressures of Covid; readers were interested in the fate of Eclipse Senior Living, and worried about the Delta variant and the pressing need to get staff vaccination rates up. But they were also looking toward the future, with innovations in memory care and intergenerational living garnering particular interest.

As always, we hope you find this list informative and helpful as you take stock of the past year and plan for what lies ahead. We wish all our readers happy holidays. Thanks for reading.

1. Atria to Acquire Holiday Retirement as Welltower Buys 86 Properties for $1.6B 

Publish date: June 21

Key quote:

“There’s a tremendous amount of strong alignment here between the operators and owners, and you will see how we take this timeless design and incredible physical plant to its next stage.” — Welltower CEO Shankh Mitra

Further reading:

Atria, Welltower Deals Could Create ‘Holiday 3.0,’ Shake Up Industry

Atria CEO: Time To ‘Step On The Gas’ With Senior Living Development Despite Tricky Challenges

Atria-Holiday Proceeds With Integration, Right-Sizing of Corporate Office

Holiday CEO: After Years of Workforce Improvement, We Now Aim To Elevate Resident Experience

2. Eclipse Senior Living to Shut Down Corporate Operation By End of Q1 2022

Publish date: October 4

Key quote: “I want to express my deep thanks to all company associates who have worked tirelessly over the past four years to build a solid platform for growth and more importantly, provide excellent care and service to thousands of residents and each other – especially during this ongoing pandemic.” — Eclipse Senior Living CEO Kai Hsiao

Further reading:

Eclipse Senior Living Closure Shows Covid is Casting Long Shadow Over Industry

Ventas Identifies Operators Taking On Eclipse Assets, Cafaro Sees Robust Recovery Underway

How Senior Living REITs, Operators Are Taking On Sizable Portfolio Transitions

3. Memory Care Innovations Take Hold In Wake Of Covid-19

Publish date: April 15, 2021

Key quote: “It’s about using [flexible spaces] creatively in the moment to respond to everybody’s needs, and not stigmatize or segregate somebody who’s exhibiting a particular behavior at a particular time.” — Perkins Eastman Senior Associate Max Winters

Further reading:

New Operator Bella Groves Launches With Membership-Based Memory Care Model

Inside the Wellness-Driven Memory Care Models of Senior Star, Sunshine Retirement

Pegasus CEO: We’re Most Bullish on Memory Care, Aim to Double Overall Portfolio by 2026

Capital Senior Living Rebrands to Sonida, Maps Future Strategy After $154.8M Infusion

4. ‘The Risk is Significant’: Delta Variant Threatens Senior Living Industry’s Covid-19 Recovery

Publish date: July 26

Key quote: “The likelihood of being hospitalized and dying, even among the older adults in our senior living communities, will be markedly reduced if they’re fully vaccinated. But we need to not be complacent.” — ALG Senior Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin O’Neil

Further reading:

‘Not One Singular Trend’: Inside Senior Living’s Uneven Pandemic Recovery

Brookdale Recovery Slowed — But Not Stopped — By Delta Variant, Labor Pressures

REITs See Delta-Related Occupancy Loss, Expect Deals to Pick Up in Q4

5. Valued at $4.4B in SPAC Deal, Cano Health Sees Future in Senior Living Partnerships

Key quote: “The paradigm shift is you can maintain health and improve health and longevity and quality of life — we’re doing that with all these wraparound services, without any incremental costs, that is the real difference.” — Cano Health Founder and CEO Dr. Marlow Hernandez

Further reading:

Cano Health CEO: Our Integrated Care Model Could Be ‘Incredibly Helpful’ to Enhance Senior Living Value Prop

What the Launch of Walgreens Health Means for Senior Living Providers

Related Cos. Partners with CareMax to Drive Innovation in Older Adult Health Care

Why Related Cos.’ CareMax Investment Raises Intriguing Possibilities for Atria and Middle-Market Senior Living

6. More Senior Living Providers Impose Staff Mandates As Covid-19 Vaccination Lags

Publish date: February 16

Key quote: “We know there will be more variants coming, and we don’t know what those will look like. So, it is incumbent upon us as leaders in the company to make the hard decision that … you have to be vaccinated to work here.” — Silverado CEO Loren Shook

Further reading:

Sunrise Senior Living Joins Growing List of Providers to Mandate Covid Vaccine

Senior Living Groups Praise Sweeping New Vaccine Mandates, Blast Lack of Financial Relief

Atria, Other Senior Living Providers Prep for Vaccine Booster Clinics As Regulators Convene

7. Welltower to Acquire 4 Senior Housing Portfolios for $1.3 Billion

Key quote: “We have recently observed a meaningful uptick in potential investment opportunities as the level of motivation from various sellers has risen, coinciding with further industry disruption due to the Delta variant and challenging labor environment.” — Welltower CEO Shankh Mitra

Further reading:

What Comes After the $4 Billion Start of Welltower’s Shankh Mitra Era

Welltower CEO: We Are More Bullish Than Ever on Senior Housing, With Conditions From Double-Negative Cycle

Kisco Senior Living CEO: As Covid-19 Fear Has Waned, Other Challenges Emerge

8. Value-Based Care Innovator Lifesprk to Acquire Tealwood Senior Living; Bill Thomas to Lead Creation of Operational Model

Key quote: “As we’ve evolved and the world opened up in the last four or five years with where value-based payment was going … it made a lot of sense for us to think about, there’s a lot of aggregation in a senior campus, a lot of opportunity.” — Lifespark Founder and CEO Joel Theisen

Further reading:

5 Ways Lifesprk’s Tealwood Acquisition Could Drive Senior Living Transformation

Lifesprk CEO: Innovations Underway to Bring Tealwood Portfolio Into New Care, Payment Models

Lifespark ‘Holy Grail Deal,’ SCAN Build on Medicare Advantage Momentum in Senior Living

9. Ventas to Acquire New Senior Investment Group in $2.3B Transaction

Key quote: “The transaction provides Ventas shareholders with an attractive valuation and accretion, and further positions us to win the recovery.” — Ventas CEO and Chairman Debra Cafaro

Further reading:

Atria-Holiday Merger, New Senior Deal Has Ventas Positioned for Future Senior Housing Growth

Ventas Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is With $2.3 Billion New Senior Deal

Atria to Manage 21 Communities for New Senior, Debuts Atria Retirement Brand in US

10. How Intergenerational Living Is Shaping New Senior Housing Models Post-Pandemic

Publish date: May 31

Key quote:

“If we thought about our communities in intergenerational ways, we would be developing schools, universities, parks, trails and [communities] in ways that attract and engage people across the age spectrum.” — Generations LLC Executive Chairman Chip Gabriel

Further reading:

After SHAG Affiliation, Transforming Age Readies New Management Brand and Intergenerational Models

Why Multifamily, Senior Housing Hybrids Could Shape the Future of Intergenerational Living

Garden Spot CEO: We Are Looking Beyond Age-Restricted Housing for Urban, Intergenerational Model


Tim Mullaney

If he’s not in the newsroom, Tim likes to be on the tennis court or traveling to a new destination. Recent highlights include Sri Lanka and Iceland.