What impact has the Coronavirus Pandemic had on Senior Living Communities?
The pandemic has made a big impact. Many communities are trying to keep seniors safe at all cost.
The pandemic has caused many to add safety measures such as zero visitation to outside visitors and family, wearing masks daily for those who work with residents, and deep-cleaning constantly to ensure the community stay as healthy as possible.
Is there a feeling among communities that COVID-19 has impacted the senior living industry long term?
Yes! The senior living industry was already struggling with seniors outliving their money, independent residents needing more care services, and labor shortages within senior living communities. COVID-19 has surely accelerated the problem.
The industry is changing faster than anyone can keep up with. One day we will look in the rearview mirror of this pandemic, but for now many communities are trying to figure out how to maintain a functioning bubble to keep residents and staff safe.
When the pandemic began and news reports were reporting an increase in Covid19 cases, what were the thoughts of communities as it relates to senior living?
Many remember viewing news reports about the virus and mentally trying to create a plan with safety measures.
For many, that involved a lot people, supplies, and communication to stakeholders. Late hours for many executive directors were inevitable in order to educate themselves on “all things COVID” to create a safety plan for residents and staff.
Some communities’ COVID plan included: bringing doctors, mobile dentistry clinics, a nurse registry, and rehabilitation services inside of the community so residents would not have to leave the community for anything.
These communities really wanted to secure their communities and maintain safety throughout this pandemic.
We are about six months into the pandemic, what do we know now about Senior Living Communities and Covid-19?
There are many communities that are COVID success stories. Many of these stories you don?t hear about in the news. But when many families are looking for a place to move into, follow the Covid-19 data and free your mind. Understand that safety precautions are a must for our most vulnerable population. Some may call many safety measures extreme, but keeping residents safe is the number one priority. Everyone would agree that Washington State issues in their facilities at the beginning of this pandemic was something no senior living community wanted to be in. Let’s continue to keep communities safe. We give honor to all of the unsung heroes that are on the front line of this pandemic.
Are senior living communities and nursing homes the same? Why is the Covid-19 data being reported together?
It is important to understand that not all senior-living facilities are the same. Different types of facilities are lumped together under the broad senior-living umbrella. This in turn is often confused with nursing homes that provide skilled care for the frailest patients. Outside of nursing homes, senior living communities look different. Some senior living communities are built around hospitality models and some communities house assisted living residents as well which are more care oriented. This model is all about aging in place while living a great life. Furthermore, many senior living communities are largely paid for privately by residents, Veteran?s Aide & Attendance Benefits, and/or long term care insurance. Nursing homes are largely paid for by medicaid and other types of insurance. When it comes to Covid-19 reporting, all senior living communities are lumped in with nursing homes and their count, but they are different.
What are the expectations as Senior Living Communities finish this year out?
Senior Living Communities can definitely feel the pressure to reinvent senior living. This is intensifying as we move toward the end of this year. Part of the industry has used a hospitality or real-estate model and not accounted for the public-health ramifications of older people living in close proximity. The daily news of tragedies at nursing homes and stories of families unable to visit loved ones because of quarantines are going to leave a mark on the industry. However, the expectation is to continue safety precautions and live in a bubble. Safety is always first.
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