Webex Minutes 2014-06-03

(written by John Shreve)

June 3, 2014

In attendance:

  • Andy Belval (Keystone)
  • Dennis Domer (KU)
  • John Shreve (KU)


1) John picked up last week’s discussion regarding the next I-70 conference planned for this fall, addressing the question of what private companies to consider inviting as sponsors for the event. In addition to smaller levels of financial support, the group had also discussed the idea of approaching one or more private sector organizations to contribute larger funds – and thereby having a more visible role in return.

2) Dennis agreed that this was a worthwhile proposal to continue, and will continue discussing with Marge when she returns from her trip to Europe. He also made the point that it a next step would be to put together a list of potential organizations to contact. Matching the interests and expectations between these groups and the I-70 partners will be a useful task to help guide future decision-making. For example, three issues that continue to surface in our New Cities research are (a) how to enhance overall well-being, (b) how to enable people to age at home, and (c) how to reduce costs of age-related care. When considering potential sponsors, it would be ideal to recruit companies who are focused on these and other related issues.

3) Andy commented that he has been meeting with several companies over the last six weeks who could be possibly interested in this sponsorship role. He has gained a number of insights after speaking with a wide range of developers and managers, many who have expressed interest in learning what we have been exploring with the I-70 coalition and New Cities groups.

4) Andy’s research reveals at least one trend, in which some of these companies are testing new approaches to senior housing, leading him to wonder “who will be the next Del Webb?”

5) Based on his recent interactions with various developers, Dennis commented that he’s seeing developers steer away from traditional CCRCs, because “we have enough already!”

6) Andy, on the other hand, replied that “CCRCs are still alive and kicking, and are still being built – at least in the Midwest.” But some of the models that he is observing appear to be geared toward clustering both assisted living and independent living within one large building, establishing greater efficiencies and synergies. At the same time, his opinion is that the developers are still not paying enough attention to changing market research data. Most of the building types that he has been observing are being built to supply short term market needs of persons over 80 years old. But there appears to be a “chasm” between what these developers are producing and what younger baby boomers are interested in. When asked about examples of project details (size, cost, etc.), Andy did not have the information at hand but will track it down and share.

7) John commented that he has also been tracking other related development trends along these same lines – and that all this discussion perhaps warrants a session on “industry trends” at the fall conference. This could be a combination of formal research and individual insights, such as what Andy is uncovering.

8) Dennis agreed, and added his own personal experiences that fit within this dialogue – specifically on the issue of working with a financial planner to calculate current costs of aging and how to plan accordingly. With average costs of senior residential communities around $65,000 per year, the prospect of living in such a circumstance is significant – even “frightening.” In addition to the social considerations, the economic proposition is one of the biggest hurdles to face.

9) John agreed that the economic aspect of the aging issue is one of the most critical to address, and also observed that the I-70/New Cities research has barely scratched the surface of this issue. He proposed that we contact Randy Schwering (professor of business management at Rockhurst University, and member of the I-70 coalition) to inquire if he would be interested in tackling this issue with some of his students. John and Dennis have spoken with Randy in the past about involving his business students with our research, and this may be a good opportunity that would contribute to the emerging conference themes and also benefit the students’ own academic development. If this were to proceed, perhaps the students could even present their findings at the conference in November. John asked Andy if this sort of idea could complement the issues that he has been dealing with at Keystone.

10) Andy was enthusiastic about this idea, and offered to help define what the study would entail and how to conduct the research. Andy’s academic/professional background is in business marketing, so it would be a good combination to connect his experiences with the Rockhurst students. As an example, Andy spent some time describing how new technologies find their way into the market place through a range of innovators and early adopters – and that it would be interesting for the business students to further analyze these dynamics from the theoretical and applied perspectives.

11) Dennis also agreed that this would be another useful activity for the I-70 group, and will contact Randy to arrange a meeting with Dennis, John, and Andy to discuss further.

12) Andy brought up the last item of the discussion, asking Dennis for an update on any NIH/NHS grants that were being pursued by I-70 members. Dennis replied that the only one that he was aware of was one that Marge was organizing, and that she may be looking for partners. Andy expressed interest in knowing more, so Dennis will facilitate that connection.