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Senior Housing Development Tips Developed by Aging Services Provider Ecumen

Tips developed via Ecumenís real world experience provide organizations developing senior housing a strategic path towards achieving their development goals

Shoreview, MN, September 22, 2007 --( – Aging services provider Ecumen, Minnesota’s largest non-profit senior housing company, is helping firms or individuals who are considering taking on a senior housing development project to think through key initial steps before they make an investment decision. The non-profit has released a new whitepaper featuring key development tips.

Senior Housing Development Tips: Key Things to Consider Before Entering Into The Senior Housing Market was written on Ecumen’s behalf by journalist Frank Jossi. In it, Jossi articulates the dramatic need for more senior housing in many communities while underscoring necessary steps toward creating a successful community.

The whitepaper is based on Ecumen’s experience acquired through their own senior housing development projects with partners Pope Associates Inc., a leading architectural firm, and Adolfson & Peterson Construction. Together, they have worked on a number of senior housing developments, including The Villages of North Branch in North Branch, MN, and they will break ground on September 30th on Luther Park of Sandpoint in Sandpoint, ID, which will create a unique “catered living” community managed by Ecumen that combines independent living and assisted living services and which is physically connected to First Lutheran Church of Sandpoint.

“With the emergence of the Age Wave, a lot of people want to develop senior housing, but to be successful for the people you serve and the larger community, there really has to be thoughtful due diligence on the front end,” says, Dana Wollschlager, Ecumen’s director of real estate development. “We’ve created these tips to help people do that pre-work before they make a major investment.”

Ecumen is seeing many new types of partners who see synergies and opportunities through senior housing development to create more vital, livable communities, including churches, health centers, hospitals and colleges.

“There are many new venues to create housing that underscores successful aging, but as the white paper points out, the old adage of ‘build it and they will come’ holds little relevance in the field of senior housing development,” says Wollschlager. “A better adage is to ‘study the area’s demographics, evaluate the quantity and quality of the competition, plan ahead for community connectivity, and then you are putting yourself in a much better position to succeed.’ It might not roll off the tongue quite as easily, but it does provide critical strategic direction.”

About Ecumen
Ecumen ( is based in Shoreview, Minn., and is one of the largest non-profit senior housing companies in the United States. The name Ecumen comes from the word ecumenical, which in turn is derived from the Greek word for home: “Oikos.” Ecumen works to create “home” for older adults wherever they choose to live. Ecumen is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and has 4,000 team members. Ecumen writes about news and ideas that are shaping the future of aging services at its Changing Aging blog:

Eric Schubert

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Eric Schubert

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