Launched in 2004, Kendal at Home is one of the oldest, largest and most well-known “CCRC without walls” in the U.S. The aging-in-place pioneer is now getting even bigger, thanks to a statewide expansion in Ohio and a new push into Massachusetts.
The Cleveland-based Kendal at Home is an affiliate of Kendal Corporation, a nonprofit senior housing provider with 13 communities across its eight-state footprint. Led by CEO Lynne Giacobbe, the at-home care organization unveiled its new expansion plans on Thursday.
“This option provides Kendal the opportunity to expand and broaden the horizons we can reach, by providing a valuable program to those people who are interested in what Kendal has to offer but want to remain in their own homes,” Giacobbe told Home Health Care News. “And that can be the home they’ve lived in for 30 years, the condo they moved into two years ago or even a retirement community. It doesn’t matter where they call ‘home.’”
Kendal at Home was originally launched under the auspices of Kendal at Oberlin. Due to soaring demand and a proven ability to keep members healthy at home, it eventually evolved into an independent affiliate of the larger Kendal system around 2016.
“The idea behind that was driven by the Kendal system as a whole, which had really decided to begin expanding and focusing on the in-home care arena,” Giacobbe said. “Kendal recognized that so many older adults — and you hear this when you talk with them — want to remain in their homes for as long as possible.”
Currently, Kendal at Home serves about 350 older adults, the majority of whom live in the Northern Ohio region.
As part of its model, the CCRC without walls and its care coordinators effectively cover everything needed to successfully age in place, from nutritional support and transportation, to home health aide services and more. On top of that ongoing support, Kendal at Home navigates, coordinates and pays for long-term care, if and when it’s needed.
Its senior care provider network features a wide range of partners, including non-medical home care agencies, home health providers and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).
“There are so many different programs now being designed to help support people in their home,” Giacobbe said. “We see this expansion as an exciting opportunity, especially as we look to partner with others that have that same philosophy and the same commitment to helping people age successfully.”
In exchange for Kendal at Home’s aging-in-place expertise, members pay an up-front service cost, then a monthly membership fee. For the “platinum” program, for example, a 75-year-old member might pay $60,000 coming in, then a monthly fee of between $700 or $800.
Those service costs are highly customizable and vary depending on an individual’s needs, however.
Kendal at Home likes to avoid a “one-size-fits-all approach,” Giacobbe noted.
“People actually have a lot of choice in this program,” she said, noting that long-term care insurance can also often help offset fees. “They can choose how much coverage, how much of a benefit they really need. They can adjust their monthly fee and their entry fee based on that.”
A growing model
Kendal at Home first started considering a Massachusetts expansion at the behest of Lathrop Community, which has two communities in Easthampton and Northampton.
“They’re a little unique in their model,” Giacobbe said. “They’re all independent living, so they had reached out to us quite a while ago to say, ‘We think there’s a fit.’”
Moving into the Bay State made more and more sense as Kendal at Home did its research into the market and the state’s aging demographics. A group of individuals in Boston even reached out to Giacobbe, letting her know they were interested in a CCRC-without-walls solution.
A statewide expansion in Ohio similarly made sense due to the state’s aging population.
Individuals 65 and older will make up 23% of the population in Massachusetts by 2035, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst research. By 2025, more than one in four Ohioans will be 60 or older, according to the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University.
It’s possible Kendal at Home expands even further in 2021, Giacobbe suggested.
“Once we have established this program in Massachusetts, we will continue to look at other opportunities,” she said. “I think there are suggestions and requests on a daily basis, to think about expansion opportunities in various areas. But we want to be thoughtful in our growth.”
In reality, Kendal at Home has a presence in more than a dozen states, as the program moves with its members wherever they go.
“We serve members in probably 14 states right now,” Giacobbe said. “Because when someone joins Kendal at Home, no matter where they move to in the United States, we can still continue to serve them.”
‘CCRC without walls’ in the post-pandemic world
In a traditional continuing care retirement community (CCRC), members live on a campus offering amenities and a continuum of care. The CCRC-without-walls concept has gained in popularity over the years, but there are still just a few dozen programs nationwide.
“We are one of the first five programs to be established across the country,” Giacobbe said. “For a long time, we were one of the only ones in this small group of at-home programs, then a couple more developed over the years. The list has definitely grown.”
Phoenix-based Sun Health At Home is another rapidly growing at-home CCRC. Springpoint Choice — an offshoot of the Wall Township, New Jersey-based Springpoint Senior Living — is a third example.
Many industry insiders expect more programs to pop up as senior living operators rethink their businesses to better fit into the post-pandemic world.
“We as an organization are seeing that these membership programs are definitely starting to get some legs,” Chris Hendrickson, managing director at Ziegler Healthcare Investment Banking, previously told HHCN.
*Editor’s note (June 8, 2021): HHCN corrected the location of Kendal Corporation’s headquarters. Kendal at Home is based in Cleveland, while Kendal Corp. is based in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.