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Harbor Retirement Associates Receive Top Marks at Culinary Cook Off Competition

VERO BEACH, Fla. – April 25, 2019 – Harbor Retirement Associates (HRA), a senior living development and management company based in Vero Beach, announces that two of its Chefs, Anthony Polito and Ke’o Velasquez, recently received top marks at the first ever culinary competition during the 2019 Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference & Expo. The conference was held from April 15 to April 17 in San Antonio, Texas. Chef Polito is currently the Director of Hospitality for the new HarborChase of Dr. Phillips in Orlando and is no stranger to earning accolades in culinary arts winning last year’s culinary competition at the Argentum conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Chef Velasquez is currently the Director of Hospitality at HarborChase of the Park Cities in Dallas, Texas.

“We’re thrilled that two of our culinary powerhouses made such a significant impression at this friendly competition during the Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference,” said Kim Lewis, Chief Operating Officer of Harbor Retirement Associates. “Their amazing dish is a perfect example of the exciting and creative cuisine we proudly serve to our residents and their guests. With a strong focus on delivering the best in hospitality, our culinary team is dedicated to both surprising and delighting our diners.”

In the cooking competition, Polito and Velasquez received the highest total points against competitors from five other senior living organizations. The HRA team received perfect scores in three out of four categories: “Taste,” “Creativity,” and “Plating.” For their winning dish, they prepared “Guajillo Chili-Rubbed Wagyu Beef Brisket with a Mole Verde, Fire-Roasted Poblano Pepper and Texas Pecan-Horseradish Cheddar Cheese Tamale and Pickled Calabacita Slaw.”

“By integrating seasonal and regional ingredients with contemporary cooking and plating techniques, Chefs Anthony and Ke’o represent the modern era of culinary arts in our industry,” said Christopher Thompson, Vice President of Hospitality at HRA. “It is this approach that will shift the dynamics of culinary artistry and hospitality in senior living and redefine the industry for years to come. As a company, we are thrilled to be recognized as leaders in hospitality and creating an exceptional culinary experience for our residents.”

HRA as an organization is focused on providing exceptional dining and hospitality for its residents and guests. The organization currently operates 35 communities, with 6 under development. Typical HRA community features include full-service dining, housekeeping and laundry services, scheduled transportation and a dedicated staff of associates available 24 hours a day. All communities feature the exclusive Chef’s Fare Dining program with customized dining experiences in multiple restaurants. All communities also offer HRA’s award-winning Life Enrichment program, designed to provide social, devotional, fitness and recreational opportunities that have a positive impact on residents.

For more information on HRA, visit

About Harbor Retirement Associates

Harbor Retirement Associates (“HRA”) is a regional senior living development and management company, focused primarily on Assisted Living and Memory Care communities, but also engaged in the development and operations of Independent Living and Skilled Nursing communities. HRA operates 35 communities in 9 states and is partnering on the construction of 8 more communities in 5 additional states. HRA manages over $150 million in revenue and approximately $1 billion in assets while employing 2,500 associates.


SRI Management Announces VP of Operations and Finance

SRI Management Selects Todd Filippone as Vice President of Operations and Finance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 24, 2019) SRI Management LLC, a highly personal, results-oriented senior living management company with more than 25 communities throughout the Southeast, announces the selection of Todd Filippone as its vice president of operations and finance. An integral member of the SRI Management corporate leadership team for the past three years, Filippone brings more than 15 years of senior housing experience to the company. In his VP role, Filippone oversees all new construction and development in addition to the transition of existing communities acquired by SRI Management, all while continuing to provide operational support for the current portfolio.

“As SRI continues our forecasted growth at an impressive rate, promoting Todd to a VP ensures strategically delivered results,” says Don Bishop, chief executive officer, SRI Management. “His approach of streamlining all systems and programs during community development, construction and/or acquisition ultimately ensures the owner and resident satisfaction for which SRI is widely recognized.”

With Filippone serving as vice president of operations and finance, SRI is poised to acquire, break ground on or open nearly a dozen new communities throughout Florida and the Southeast the upcoming months, all while continuing to operate with its signature core values of character, compassion and commitment.

Since its inception in 2000, SRI’s leadership has consistently sought to be in the forefront of changes in the industry and forging strong relationships with owners. Each SRI-managed property seeks to achieve optimal results in all areas of operations, including resident care, associate satisfaction and retention, and financial performance. The company currently manages 25 (including five properties currently under construction) independent living, assisted living, enhanced assisted living and memory care communities, encompassing more than 2,200 units, with operating revenues exceeding $50-million, annually. More information on SRI Management can be found at

SRI Management Brings Seasoned Leader to Seagrass Village Panama City Beach


Rich DeLong Announced as Executive Director of New Panama City Independent Living Community

SRI Management LLC, one of the fastest growing privately held management companies in the Southeast, proudly announces the appointment of Rich DeLong as the new executive director of Seagrass Village Panama City Beach Independent Living. Encompassing 128 units of upscale independent living options for active seniors, the community offers the Village Villas (currently open) as spacious, residential-style floorplans in duplex layouts, as well as The Grand (opening Summer 2019), a three-story apartment-style accommodation option with inclusive resort amenities. In his new position, DeLong will oversee all daily operations and business development, all while developing Seagrass Village of Panama City Beach to be a community which provides an active sense of wellness and care for its residents.

 “A service-minded leader at his core, Rich has an impressive track-record of operating successful senior living communities, driving census and resident retention as well as transforming the mindset of seniors as they transition to this next phase of their lives,” said Don Bishop, chief executive officer, SRI Management. “We know he will bring a service-oriented, active lifestyle culture to Seagrass Village, ensuring quality resident experiences to create a personalized, local community.”

Boasting 20+ years of experience leading and serving in the senior living sector, as well as an extensive career in recreation, teaching and coaching, DeLong brings a diverse background of skills well-aligned with the SRI Management core values of character, compassion and commitment to residents, families and owners alike. Before moving to the Florida Panhandle, DeLong served for nearly 20 years as an executive director, advancing and leading communities for management companies including Magnolia Manor, Five Star Senior Living and most recently, Georgia Living Management. Through his tenure, he has been recognized frequently for both his significant professional achievements, as well as his dedication as a community volunteer, named a Rotarian of the Year and Volunteer of the Year for the Council on Aging, among many other awards and accolades. DeLong holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Florida and a Masters in Education from Georgia Southwestern State University.

“My previous positions as executive director for two top senior care providers fueled my passion for our aging population,” said DeLong. “I’m excited by the opportunity to develop Seagrass Village as a positive, personal and profitable business, providing quality lifestyle options for each resident. My approach in running a successful community is simple – hire great people, provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs well and then step back and be here to support them, guiding us all to seek service above self.

Since its inception in 2000, SRI’s leadership has consistently sought to be in the forefront of changes in the industry and forging strong relationships with owners. Each SRI-managed property seeks to achieve optimal results in all areas of operations, including resident care, associate satisfaction and retention, and financial performance. SRI currently manages 23 independent, assisted living and memory support communities, encompassing over 2,000 units. More information on SRI Management can be found at and details on Seagrass Village Panama City Beach can be found at here..

Need for Speed When Hiring

Submitted by Julie Rupenski, President & CEO, MedBest

With unemployment at a 30-year low and a job market that is candidate-driven, your Senior Living organization is facing tough competition when hiring new employees. Gone are the days of interviewing and hiring at a snail’s pace. Speed in hiring is now the “magic bullet” for landing the best talent.

Clutch, a B2B analyst and marketing firm, recently conducted a survey of 507 people who began a new job in the last year.  Close to 60% of new hires got their job within two months of searching. About 43% of recent hires were offered a position less than two weeks after starting their job search.

What does it all mean?  Hiring faster improves your chances of acquiring top talent before they accept a competing offer.  It also strengthens your position as an employer of choice, and saves money by not keeping positions vacant for a long period of time.

Here are 8 tips on how to increase your speed in hiring:

  • Create a Continuous Talent Pipeline. Devote time to continuous recruiting in order to identify talent for key jobs even before they become open. This proactive approach enables you to create a talent pipeline to call an immediate possible replacement(s) should someone leave your organization.
  • Involve Your Employees. Notify your employees of an urgent job opening that must be filled immediately.  Post opening on your Intranet, website career page, or bulletin board. Offer a reward for any employee referrals that get hired.
  • Reduce the Number of Interviews. When a top candidate shows interest in working at your organization, act quickly. Find a way to immediately interview them and decrease the number of managers involved. Cut out any unnecessary steps. Any delays during the interviewing process can cause candidate frustration and a loss of interest.
  • Consider Off-Hour Interviews. Consider same-day interviews and off-hour interview slots such as evenings and weekends. Make it convenient for employed candidates or passive candidates to interview. The more convenient, the more likely they will be impressed and show up.
  • Implement an Automated or Live Interviewing Tool. An automated video tool helps organizations to screen more candidates in an expedient manner using video interviews in order to shortlist them. If you’ve already shortlisted candidates, a live interview tool will allow you to connect in real-time for a face-to-face interaction.  You will be able to record your live session and as a result, share it with your management team for their input.
  • Involve Your Influencer. Who on your team is the best at selling the job and your organization? Involve that person in every first interview. They have the power to affect the decision of your candidate through their position, knowledge, testimonial, and natural ability to engage others.
  • Check References Sooner. Often, references aren’t checked until an offer is about to be made. But there’s no reason to wait that long. Ask for references from your top candidates much sooner, so you can start calling sooner.
  • Hire a Reputable Search Firm. Professional Senior Living Search Firms have access to a network of high quality industry talent.  They already have an existing pool of talent, understand the skill sets needed, acumen to evaluate CV’s and resumes, and identify the right fit.  They work in an expedient manner and in the strictest of confidence.

In today’s job market where competition for talent is stiff, if you don’t reduce your hiring speed to less than 10 days, you will lose top talent. It’s time for your Senior Living organization to recognize the need for speed in your hiring process in order to gain a powerful competitive advantage.

Contact us if you’re in need of rock star candidates ready to make a change: 727-526-1294 /

Harbor Retirement Associates Wins National Customer Experience Awards

Eight HRA communities recognized by Pinnacle Quality Insight

VERO BEACH, Fla., – March 28, 2019 – Harbor Retirement Associates (HRA), a regional senior living development and operating company based in Vero Beach, announces that eight of their communities have received Pinnacle Quality Insight’s 2019 Customer Experience Award™ in several categories. This national award recognizes outstanding senior living communities who have consistently received high ratings from residents and their families. HRA earned the recognition by demonstrating a continued dedication to providing Best in Class senior healthcare services in its communities nationwide.

“We are excited, proud and deeply honored to receive these prestigious awards from Pinnacle Quality Insight,” said Sarabeth Hanson, President and CEO of Harbor Retirement Associates. “This national recognition is a testament to the tireless perseverance and hard work of our associates. Their steadfast adherence to our core values and vision is truly inspiring. Every day, they bring to life our values of respect, attentiveness, integrity, stewardship and excellence. Their energy and commitment will allow us to continue building our fine legacy of senior living and care.”

Eight HRA communities were singled out for awards. Seven of HRA’s Florida communities were recognized in a variety of categories: HarborChase of Gainesville won for “Variety of Food/Menu Choices” and “Transportation Needs”; HarborChase of Tamarac for “Quality of Food and Dining Service” and “Dignity and Respect”; HarborChase of Palm Harbor for “Variety of Food/Menu Choices,” “Activities,” and “Overall Customer Experience”; HarborChase of Jacksonville for “Recommend to Others” and “Move-In Process”; HarborChase of Sarasota for “Cleanliness”; Regency Park for “Personal Care”; and HarborChase of Tallahassee for “Variety of Food/Menu Choices” and “Dignity and Respect.” In Illinois, HarborChase of Naperville won for “Move-In Process.”

Throughout its history of serving seniors, HRA has placed a strong emphasis on ensuring that the individual needs of every resident are met. Over the course of 2018, a sampling of HRA’s residents and their families have participated in monthly telephone interviews that include open-ended questions, as well the opportunity to rate HRA in specific categories. Every month, HRA has gathered its real-time survey results in order to gain a better understanding of the residents’ needs and make improvements when necessary.

By qualifying for the Pinnacle Customer Experience Award™ , these eight HRA communities have satisfied the rigorous demand of scoring in the top 15% of the nation across a 12-month average. Clients have the opportunity to achieve this Best in Class distinction on a monthly basis in many categories designed to accurately reflect each resident’s experience.

For more information on HRA, visit

About Harbor Retirement Associates
Harbor Retirement Associates (“HRA”) is a regional senior living development and management company, focused primarily on Assisted Living and Memory Care communities, but also engaged in the development and operations of Independent Living and Skilled Nursing communities. HRA operates 35 communities in 9 states and is partnering on the construction of 8 more communities in 5 additional states. HRA manages over $150 million in revenue and approximately $1 billion in assets while employing 2,500 associates. For more information, visit

About Pinnacle Quality Insight
A customer satisfaction measurement firm with 23 years of experience in post-acute healthcare, Pinnacle conducts over 150,000 phone surveys each year and works with more than 2,500 care providers in all 50 US states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

U.S. Department of Labor’s Overtime Proposal Open for Public Comment

The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that the Office of the Federal Register has published the Department’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would make more than a million more American workers eligible for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The official publication in the Federal Register marks the start of the proposal’s public comment period, which will remain open for 60 days and close on May 21, 2019.

More information about the proposed rule is available at The Department encourages any interested members of the public to submit comments about the proposed rule electronically at, in the rulemaking docket RIN 1235-AA20. Comments must be received by May 21, 2019 to be considered.

Smokable Marijuana Available As State Crafts New Rules

 March 22, 2019 8:12 am

Smokable marijuana is already available for patients at some dispensaries just days after Gov. Ron DeSantis legalized its use.

But the new law still requires the state to craft rules about how to obtain it.

Under Senate Bill 182, the Florida Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine must create a new informed consent form for patients that requires them to acknowledge the specific risks of smoking marijuana.

They also have to create standards for doctors to follow when certifying smoking as a route of administration, and develop rules about what smoking devices sold at dispensaries should look like and how they should be labeled.

The Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use said the two boards and the Joint Committee on Medical Marijuana will meet in April to begin the approval process for the new forms.

In the meantime, doctors can use their own consent forms as long as they receive acknowledgement from patients that they explained the risks of smoking.

The changes seem to be taking effect much faster than past marijuana expansion. State Sen. Jeff Brandes, who was a big proponent for removing the smoking ban, credits Gov. Ron DeSantis for that.

“I think his desire to have this resolved quickly bodes well for a simplified process and access in a timely manner,” Brandes said.

Under former Gov. Rick Scott, the Department of Health was heavily criticized for how it handled the voter-approved constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in 2016.

Brandes said, in terms of the new DOH rules, it’s pretty much a “wait and see” situation right now but added that the speed of the law passage and its implementation so far makes him optimistic.

“I think all of those things point me to believe that everybody is acting in good faith in this process and if we find somebody who is not acting in good faith, I think the legislature while it’s in session will begin to address it,” he said. “But I also know from the providers, they’re ready to provide product in their dispensaries.”

As of now, only Trulieve is allowed to dispense smokable marijuana.

The first patient to receive it in Florida purchased it Thursday at a Trulieve store in Tallahassee.

Doug Dixon, a 59-year-old patient, purchased the whole flower he hailed as a safer and healthier alternative to prescription drugs to treat the pain he suffers from fibromyalgia.

The Crawfordville construction worker was already purchasing other cannabis products at Trulieve. He told the News Service of Florida he plans to smoke the whole flower in joints.

“It is good to have the alternative,” Dixon said. “These pharmaceuticals are killing people. I have lost so many family members.”

The other licensed treatment centers are working with the Office of Medical Marijuana Use to make their product available as quickly as possible.

A representative with GrowHealthy in Lake Wales said they expect to receive approval within a week.

Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers, whose Quincy-based company sells more than 60 percent of the medical marijuana purchased by the state’s nearly 200,000 patients, said the sale of whole-flower cannabis will make medical marijuana affordable for many Floridians who are now financially shut out of the treatment.

“We do expect that there will be an increase in the Florida market,” she said. “I don’t know that we’ll see as much of a shift of current patients, as we will patients who have not been medical patients up to this point, entering the market because they now see a product that they are attracted to and that works for them.”

In other states where medical marijuana has been legalized, smokable products comprise between 40 and 60 percent of sales, according to Rivers.

Once a licensed dispensary receives approval to sell smokable cannabis, they can also sell delivery devices like pre-rolled joints, pipes and bongs.

The new law also allows patients to purchase these items – not actual joints, but rolling papers – from other vendors as well.  Previously, smoking devices would have been considered illegal drug paraphernalia even if they were used to inhale legally obtained medical cannabis.

Patients still have to obtain devices that deliver other forms of marijuana, like vaporizers or droppers, from official dispensaries.

For more information about the new changes, patients and providers can check out this FAQ page created by the state Office of Medical Marijuana Use.