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I Got This Guy Completely Wrong - A Confession

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By Steve Moran

Once in a while, I get something completely wrong. (I know some of you might be thinking “more often than once in a while”.)

To date, the most significant, was when I postulated that ageism was just the next cause in a long string of politically correct causes to get outraged about. However, after writing that article, I became much more aware of the issue and a year or so later, I found myself writing an article “confessing” that I was wrong and that ageism is a huge, big deal.  

Well, Here Is Another One . . .

In July or August of 2016, a reader reached out to me about this guy, Gene Guarino, who was teaching three-day classes on “how to get rich” by starting residential assisted living communities (think small homes). I took a hard shot at what he was doing.

But it turns out . . .

I WAS WRONG.

A few weeks ago, I was at the InterFace Seniors Housing West Conference and the first person I ran into was this guy, Gene Guarino. We exchanged brief pleasantries and agreed to meet for lunch. It turns out I was wrong on so many fronts:

  • He is a successful operator of residential-style assisted living communities.

  • He has now taught more than 1,000 people how to open their own residential assisted living communities with a focus on servicing residents well at the path to a reasonable rate of return.

  • Spawned by his Residential Assisted Living Academy teaching, he is now responsible for between 500 and 600 new residential-style assisted living communities that are creating jobs and serving seniors.

  • He is running his own conference for operators of small box senior living communities, whether they are graduates or not.

  • The communities that his students are opening are focused on the middle- and high-middle market.

  • He is a good guy.

A New Big Thing

I have written about this before; however, I am more and more convinced that these small residential senior living communities are going to be an increasingly important part of the senior living/assisted living mix. While in Tucson last week, I visited a community where the owners are doing this kind of senior living at scale. I will talk about that visit in another article.

Traditionally, these small homes have -- in many states -- represented the last resort for seniors with limited financial resources. Yet, increasingly, they are becoming a boutique option for seniors wanting or needing higher levels of care at a reasonable cost.  

I find myself puzzling over how a big box senior living community might somehow incorporate what Gene is doing, which would allow them to provide this high staffing model at a more modest cost?

What I am really puzzling over right now is whether or not these communities are pulling residents away from large scale senior living or actually expanding the market, by appealing to seniors who would not have an interest in big box senior living.

Finally . . .

I am delighted to announce that Gene and The Residential Assisted Living Academy is joining the Senior Housing Forum Tribe as a sponsoring partner. To this end, with our new web design (did I mention we are redesigning to serve you, the reader. better), you will see a new neighborhood focused on this segment of the marketplace.


For more information about RAL Academy check out their website:

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