Assisted Living Sector Expands

By Robert Hadley of The Lane Report

Masonic Homes of Kentucky’s groundbreaking last month on The Meadow, a 230,000-s.f., 122-unit apartment-style complex on its 82-acre Louisville campus is part of a move by the region’s significant aging-care sector to fill an expanding need.

Waves of aging baby boomers are driving expansion of the aging-care industry both nationally and in especially in Louisville as the largest demographic group in U.S. history enters retirement. The number of men and women over age 60 in the commonwealth, according to a 2011 report from the Kentucky State Data Center, is in the midst of rising from 829,000 in 2010 to nearly 1.1 million by 2020.

In Louisville an even more dramatic increase is projected, with the report forecasting a 35 percent jump from 177,514 in 2010 to almost 240,000 by 2020 in the Louisville Metro area.

The rising elderly population is boosting demand for assisted living facilities, which often bridge the gap between full-on nursing homes and hospitals. These types of homes offer more independence, but with nursing care available when residents need it.

Overall construction figures are not readily available, but the state was issuing $100 million in tax-free municipal bonds this month for Masonic Homes. Its amenities-rich The Meadows, 84 percent pre-sold at groundbreaking, will cost $44 million, and Masonic Homes early next year plans to begin construction of Grove Pointe, a $14 million 48-unit assisted living community also on its 82-acre campus along Frankfort Avenue.

Healthcare, including senior facilities, plays a significant role in the Louisville Metro economy. Eight of the city’s top 20 employers are healthcare related, employing approximately 85,000 workers with an annual payroll of $3.5 billion, according to Alison Brotzge-Elder, spokesperson for Greater Louisville Inc.

Louisville considers its aging-care sector the world’s largest, with $50 billion in annual revenues.

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