Ep. 108: Current Senior Living Development Trends with Dana Wollschlager

Jul 16, 2023 |

Dana Wollschlager, Partner and Practice Leader at Plante Moran Living Forward, shares current trends in senior living development and redevelopment.

In this episode, host Jennifer Drago interviews Dana Wollschlager, partner and practice leader of Plante Moran Living Forward. She provided practical guidance on how to approach development projects in today’s challenging construction and financing market. Dana also shared the ingredients of a successful development or repositioning project: alignment of the project with a solid strategic plan and operational discipline to make sure the project will be successful both financially and in terms of desired impact.

Dana has a unique understanding of operational and financial challenges in senior living, along with extensive expertise in senior living development. Her discussion of current trends related to right-sizing healthcare beds on a senior living campus was particularly thought-provoking. If you are considering any kind of construction project on your senior living campus, this episode is for you.


Plante Moran Living Forward has the privilege of serving senior living communities across the nation as a trusted development advisor and owner’s representative. We bring strategic planning, predevelopment planning, site selection, and construction monitoring services under a single point of contact to address clients’ evolving real estate and construction needs.

Plante Moran Living Forward offers a proven process that has been fine-tuned over billions of dollars in development — and a culture centered around a spirit of integrity and collaboration. Clients can trust our experts to guide them in making the right strategic, financial, and mission-driven decisions for their project, from concept to completion.

As partner and practice leader for Plante Moran Living Forward, Dana Wollschlager brings nearly 30 years of experience in the senior living and care industry. She has overseen the development of more than $500 million in new construction, including 1,400 units of senior housing and skilled nursing within the last five years.

Dana’s expertise covers a wide area of disciplines ranging from design and construction oversight, financing, and regulatory compliance to on-site operations and management. Her development projects comprise a variety of senior living communities in urban and rural settings, including greenfield new construction, significant campus expansions, and remodeling projects.

Dana’s experience also includes LEED-certified design and construction, congregational senior housing, hospital campus senior housing, nursing home campus repositioning, collegiate senior housing, and complex remodeling projects. She has written and secured federal grant approvals to upgrade, substantially rehabilitate, and convert older HUD-202 properties from independent living to assisted living communities.

Dana is often asked to speak to clients, their boards and at industry conferences such as Senior Housing News Summit, Leading Age, Lincoln Healthcare, Senior Living Innovation Forum, and Interface Seniors Housing Conference about topics of interest to industry leaders.

Previously, Dana served as a regional director for housing operations at Ecumen and later joined the new business development team. There she led the organization in the single largest expansion in the firm’s history of both owned and managed senior housing communities as well as skilled nursing home repositioning projects.

Dana attended the University of Minnesota and is a certified occupancy manager, residential manager, and assisted housing manager. She is also a member of CREW Chicago, a group whose mission is to positively impact the commercial real estate industry by advancing the power and success of women.

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