Reasons to Invest in Your Senior Living Community's Life Enrichment Program

Senior living communities’ life enrichment programs are often seen as cost drivers in the context of revenue calculations. This mindset can have damaging effects on the long-term profitability of your organization and the health of your residents. Life enrichment programs should be seen as a great opportunity to improve the overall operation of your community(ies) and should be invested in accordingly! 


Well-managed life enrichment and recreation programs that successfully engage residents and improve health and happiness will drive business goals and result in a more profitable community. The extra capital can then be invested into greater and more complex offerings, resulting in a highly marketable community with great resident satisfaction.


Investing in your life enrichment program will…


1. Boost competitive positioning 

Your programming has a huge impact on how you compete against other communities in your area. Now more than ever, older adults are comparing life enrichment and wellness programs when deciding on their community. In fact, 46% of individuals in a senior living community say that wellness was the main reason they chose the community!¹ It is safe to say that a vibrant life enrichment program is key to driving demand and making your community attractive to prospects.


2. Drive length of stay and occupancy

Simply put, when residents are happy with their home they are less likely to move out! Did you know that the average length of stay for all independent living residents is 6.1 years, but for independent living residents participating in a wellness program, the number jumped to 8.8 years.² When you invest in your life enrichment program, your residents stay physically and mentally independent; they don’t need to move to a facility with more care and they’ll live fuller lives because of the health and happiness they gain from life enrichment.


3. Generate added revenue

As previously mentioned, life enrichment programs are often seen as cost drivers. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways in which communities can generate added revenue from their programming. Communities with great life enrichment programs can charge a higher rent when they can offer higher quality programming or better facilities. They can also attract residents who are more willing to pay extra fees for added services such as day trips, personal training, physical therapy, massage, or specialty workshops. Perhaps the most interesting opportunity to come from investing in your life enrichment program is the opportunity to charge membership fees for non-residents to access facilities and programs with the extra benefit of marketing the facility to potential residents.


4. Reduce costs

When you invest in physical fitness, fall prevention and healthy eating programs, you help your residents to improve strength, balance, and flexibility meaning they stay healthier, better manage chronic illnesses, and are able to dress, shower and move around by themselves. This will help your community reduce costs for care staff, medications, supplies and reduce costs by employing fewer nurses and PSWs. 


5. Increase employee retention

By opening up events and facilities to employees (under a resident-first policy), programming can double as employee engagement and wellness on the job. In fact, 58% of senior communities offer a wellness program for staff.³ In building relationships with residents and encouraging them to attend programs, recreation staff not only drive participation and satisfaction, but they can also increase occupancy. It’s critical to support staff with their own wellness programming and the right tools for the job. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s also the most profitable: investing in wellness and job satisfaction for your staff can save you the high cost and turmoil of staff turnover. Reducing turnover by as little as 10% saves a typical senior living operator with 1,500 employees and 20 communities $4.4 million per year.⁴


We hope these five reasons have shown you how life enrichment programs can drive your business success! There are many opportunities to make wellness work for you and your communities to help residents live happier and healthy lives while keeping your business profitable and successful. For more information, download our free eBook The Business of Wellness for Senior Communities or book a demo to see how you can plan, implement and measure your life enrichment program with ease with Welbi.


¹,³ The business of wellness programs in senior living.” ICAA, 2018

² “Costs of Elder Care: Assisted Living, Independent Living, and Memory Care.” A Place for Mom, 2020

⁴ “Building an Engaged Senior Living Workforce Leads to Significant Cost Savings,” Argentum, Oct 2018.