Jan 5, 2023

Sunbound Asks: Micah Gerber of Sinceri Senior Living

Nat Miller

This week on Sunbound Asks we had the pleasure of sitting down with Micah Gerber, longtime executive at Sinceri Senior Living, including time as the Chief Financial Officer, and current advisor to the Sunbound team. We had an amazing time welcoming Micah to the blog, covering a wide range of topics ranging from what makes senior living such an interesting industry to work in, to how adult children can talk to their parents about making the move to senior living. To learn more about Micah, his career in senior living, and his advice for those either already living in or looking for senior housing, check out our interview below.

Q: How long have you been working in senior living?

A: I’ve been working in senior living since 2008.


Q: How’d you get into the senior living industry?

A: I started my career as an investment banker and was covering senior housing operators. I had a really amazing time learning about the industry from the investment side of things, and as often happens in life one thing led to another and I was spending my career in senior living.


Q: What’s your favorite thing about working in senior living?

A: I’ve always been interested in real estate, and I think that senior living is one of the more interesting and complicated parts of the real estate asset class. I think senior living is so interesting from this perspective because you have what is in many ways just a normal operating company – the senior living company – that is operating and sitting in a real estate setting. In many ways senior living companies are like many other private equity owned operating companies, but they are also heavily tied to real estate. So you have the physical buildings, the employees, dining, catering, all the things that happen within a real estate asset – and there are a lot of very interesting levers to pull as opposed to doing something like managing an industrial distribution center. So I think that makes senior living a super interesting industry.


Q: What’s your favorite memory from working in senior living?

A: I started my first job in senior living as Chief Financial Officer at a senior living operating company. When I first started that job I don’t think I was empathetic enough to what happened in senior living communities because I had always come at it from a high level thinking about things in terms of dollars and cents. The CEO of the company I was working for sent me to be an executive director for a community and the experience was very eye-opening, I’ll never forget it. In particular I’ll never forget staying one night during the third shift just to see everything that went on at all hours. It was really amazing to get a sense for the challenges that the front line employees face on a daily basis, and the experience definitely changed my perspective and made me a better CFO.


Q: What advice would you give a family that is looking for senior living?

A: I think just like anything in life you need to prioritize what’s important to you and find that. Recently in our industry, including pre-Covid, there have been many new developments built. A lot of these new developments have incredible modern amenities like movie theaters and swimming pools. But just because these amenities may get the most attention, your loved one may have specific care requirements that make a different community better or more appropriate. So you need to understand what’s truly most important for your loved one, so that you know what to look for. Sometimes care is most important, sometimes amenities are. Either way, make sure you know what your loved one wants and needs.


Q: Do you have a favorite tip for how a family can talk to a parent about moving to senior living?

A: There’s definitely an apprehension during this conversation. I’ve always said the biggest competitor in senior housing is somebody’s own home, not the competitor next door, because a lot of people want to stay home. So I always tell people to focus on all the great benefits that come with senior housing. Everyone’s different, but for most the benefit that really makes a difference is the increased socializing that comes with senior living. It’s been shown that seniors’ health is way better when they’re living in a social environment and interacting with other people. So for many people, it’s important to focus on all the ways that the social aspect of senior living would improve their loved one’s life.


Q: What’s your favorite new trend in senior living?

A: I think just like any industry technology is becoming more prevalent in many different ways. Roughly 60% of expenses in senior living are related to labor, so a lot of people are trying to leverage technology in order to try and fight rising labor costs. But it can be difficult cutting out human labor from senior living. Some jobs you might be able to fully automate – like a robot that can drop french fries into a fryer – but it’s really hard to eliminate the human element from caring for humans. So there’s a challenge to find technology solutions that can strip out costs in a way that aren’t just replacing staff, to help create a senior living experience that is less expensive and more accessible to more people.


Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about senior living?

A: One really interesting and amazing fact that many people don’t know is that in memory care companion living (living with a roommate) can often be much better for the resident. There are very positive health outcomes associated with having a roommate when living in a memory care facility. Adult children are often hesitant to let their parents live with a roommate, and that’s totally understandable, but the positive outcomes are often really remarkable.


Q: If you weren’t working in senior living, what else would you be doing?

A: I’d be teaching math. I help my kids with their math homework most nights, and the thing I love about math is that there’s always an answer that’s non-debatable. It’s either right or wrong, which is how my brain works.


Q: What senior living resources would you suggest for our readers?

A: A lot of people go directly to senior housing news sources, and while the industry specific sources contain some really great information on the senior living industry, it’s important to keep your eyes and ears open to more general news sources as well. Senior living doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so I always recommend that along with getting plenty of senior living industry specific news, that you also keep reading the standard business publications like The Wall Street Journal or The Economist. And of course everyone should also listen to the All-In Podcast.


To learn more about how Sunbound can help make senior living more affordable for you or your loved one, send us an email at info@sunboundhomes.com or request more information on Sunbound. Sunbound is the best way to pay for senior living and is on a mission to make senior living affordable for everyone.

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