Close up image of a caretaker helping older woman walk

American Baptist Homes of the West and have announced they will merge next year to create one of the largest nonprofit senior living organizations in the country.

In a videoconference on Tuesday, ABHOW and leaders touted the merger as bringing growth and stability to their organizations, which provide services to 9,800 residents across California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Oklahoma. The merger is expected to be finalized in spring of 2016.

“As I thought about this, how to explain to people what is really going on here, I thought of Columbus as he was sailing off saying ‘I’ve got a great ship, I’ve got a great team, I believe in the team and I believe in the mission, but I don’t know what is over the horizon,’” said ABHOW CEO David Ferguson during the videoconference. “This team has the courage to sail into those unknown waters.”

Ferguson, who plans to retire from ABHOW in February 2017 after 25 years of service, will become the executive advisor to the combined organizations from the merger’s completion until his retirement. John Cochrane, currently the CEO of, will take over leadership of the organizations at the close of the merger.

“When I’m asked the question ‘What will change for residents?’, the short answer is not much,” Cochrane said during the videoconference. “Much of their day-to-day life will not change, and that’s the way it should be.” Cochrane also emphasized the merger’s potential to expand career development opportunities for the organization’s employees, and the financial stability the merger will provide the organization as the long-term healthcare landscape continues to evolve.

Upon completion of the merger, ABHOW and will be the largest nonprofit senior living provider in California, and the sixth largest in the United States.