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Senior Living Executives Optimistic About Future
Date:5/7/2009

Leaders say industry is weathering recession at national ALFA conference

PHILADELPHIA, May 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The nation's leading senior living executives today expressed confidence in the state of the industry and optimism about future prospects at the conclusion of a national conference here.

The executives said assisted living is weathering the economic recession far better than other businesses because it had proven its value to seniors and their families.

"Assisted living has become synonymous with a philosophy of care that allows seniors to age with dignity, independence and choice," said Richard Grimes, the President and CEO of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), the nation's leading association for professionally managed assisted living providers. "The participation of more than 2,000 professionals at our 19th annual conference this week at a time of great economic uncertainty demonstrated the underlying strength and appeal of this movement."

CEO's from some of the nation's top firms discussed the state of the industry at a panel on the final day of the three day annual ALFA Conference and Exposition at the Philadelphia Convention Center. While a depression in housing prices, the dramatic decline in the stock market, frozen credit markets and rising unemployment caused assisted living companies to "hunker down" by freezing wages and reducing spending where possible, the executives said that public demand for the services they provide to seniors softened the blow to their companies. Moreover, memory care services for seniors who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer's disease have actually grown during the recession because of increased demand.

"Needs driven products are the ones doing best and holding their own," said Mike Leader, the President and CEO of Country Meadows Retirement Communities.

The industry leaders said developments for seniors who live independently and business expansion plans have been most affected by current market conditions. Independent living providers in some markets have shifted independent living units into memory care or assisted living. Many expansion plans are on hold because of the lack of capital and skittishness of investors they said.

"Our industry has fared better than other asset classes," said Tom Grape, the Chairman and CEO of Benchmark Living Assisted Living. "In the long run, demographics will be a source of real appeal to investors."

Highlights from the 2009 ALFA conference and expo can be found at www.alfa.org.


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SOURCE Assisted Living Federation of America
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