TD: The frail elderly are the highest risk population for a health system to manage, and by far the costliest. We actually don't start by talking about real estate. We start from the perspective that we are a wellness delivery model for the most at-risk population. If we can keep people eating properly, if we can keep people exercising and keep their minds acute, we can address many health care issues.
Wellness is so important. Welltower communities are home to a population of more than 200,000 elderly residents. One thing they have in common is they pay out of pocket to get wellness care (including nutrition, hydration, social and cognitive engagement and safety) from the country's best assisted living and memory care operators.
Unfortunately, in many other cases, the frail elderly and people with dementia are living in real estate that puts them at risk. For example, a two-story suburban house with four bedrooms and three bathrooms presents a major risk to an 88-year-old woman who has had her joints replaced and also has macular degeneration. Her home becomes an environment filled with landmines. When she falls down the stairs, she will land in a hospital bed with a number of acute issues that will make it very challenging for that hospital to treat her in the number of days for which they will be reimbursed.
Health systems want to manage this population in a more effective way and we are their partner in meeting that challenge. We are a $40 billion enterprise with extraordinary access to capital at a time when health systems have a profound need to evolve. Health systems are focusing their limited capital investments on technologies that cost billions of dollars. And, while historically hospitals have owned 98% of their real estate, that is changing and they are looking to companies like Welltower that bring a platform of value to helping them manage their own businesses more effectively.