Sunset Stories

Sunset Communities Announces Affiliation with Otterbein Seniorlife

Posted by Gayle Young on Aug 13, 2020 9:19:19 AM


The board of directors of Sunset Communities today announced an affiliation with Otterbein SeniorLife, based in Lebanon, Ohio. Both are senior care non-profit organizations that provide a wide array of senior services including independent and assisted living, memory-support, skilled nursing and rehabilitative care and hospice.

In making the announcement, Sunset Communities CEO and President Vicky Bartlett said, “Our board has been looking for the best way to assure the long-term viability of our Community and this is it. Otterbein SeniorLife is clearly one of the premier senior care providers in the nation, and aligns best with us culturally and philosophically. The fact that Otterbein already operates four senior care organizations in northwest, Ohio, (among other locations), and their home office location is less than three hours away, are added bonuses.”

Bartlett said that the affiliation with Otterbein gives Sunset a number of advantages for future growth and success. These include a vision for and strategic plan to reposition the Communities with greater access to capital, which provides the opportunity for increased investment in the Sunset campuses. She said by joining forces with a large, multi-site entity, Sunset can increase its resources and purchasing power, which ultimately leads to providing enhanced facilities and excellence in care.

According to Bartlett, even larger, dual site, communities like Sunset are more vulnerable today due to constant changes in senior care. These include rising costs of health care, increased government regulations, reductions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and new competitors.

“We are very pleased to join forces with Sunset Retirement Communities. Their 149-year track record of enriching individual life journeys combined with Otterbein’s 108 years of enhancing the quality of life and holistic growth of older persons will strengthen our organization and open up all kinds of strategic opportunities to carry out our mission,” said Jill Wilson, president and CEO of Otterbein SeniorLife. “Our board could not pass up the opportunity to affiliate with a like-minded organization committed to exceptional stewardship. We believe the synergies of our organizations blend very well and will contribute greatly to continued excellent care and support for resident and working experiences for employees.”

In the affiliation, Otterbein SeniorLife will become the sole member of Sunset Retirement Communities, Inc. In keeping with the standard already in place with all Otterbein communities, Sunset will continue to retain the current staff, leadership team, local board of directors; but now with support from a home office team to create leverage for sales, marketing, communications, financial analyses, strategic planning, and so on. Sunset’s balance sheet remains intact and investments will be used solely in support of the Sunset Communities. 

As an aspect of the affiliation, the Sunset Communities will change their name to Otterbein Sunset House and Otterbein Sunset Village; and the independent living residences will be called The Woodlands at Otterbein Sunset House and Fieldstone Villas at Otterbein Sunset Village. The new organization will evaluate supplier contracts, credit opportunities, software productivity tools in place, etc.; and select the optimal solutions for the organization as a whole, with the intent to drive up synergy and drive down the cost of operations, while maintaining outstanding care and customer service.