Positive Signs

By on Feb 3, 2021 in News

COVID-19 generated widespread disruption in senior housing, as it did to almost every other real estate sector. Senior housing community occupancies dropped after move-in moratoriums were declared and new safety protocols drove up operating costs.

Some observers, however, are finding reasons for optimism. For one thing, “unlike many other real estate sectors, senior housing operators are collecting rents,” says senior living and health care consultant Jim Moore, writing in news and analysis source McKnight’s Senior Living. And a research report issued by JLL in the spring, citing stabilizing occupancy and rent collections, noted, “Eight weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, the seniors housing sector is showing signs of rejuvenation, once again proving its resiliency despite some early concerns.”

Weighing in on the perspective of residents and their families, Boston-based Hebrew Senior Life, a nonprofit provider of senior health care and living communities, offers several reasons why this is a good time to move into a senior living community:

Necessities of life. Many communities offer safe delivery systems for food, medicine and other essentials, along with in-house maintenance, IT, housekeeping and security.

Health care/wellness services. Some senior living communities provide onsite clinics for primary care, medication management, prescription refills and even physical therapy. There might also be dedicated fitness centers and outdoor spaces.

Infection controls. This includes sanitation of lobbies, hallways and other common areas, along with staff training and screening.

Stringent socializing. “The strongest senior living communities offer safer socialization than anywhere else,” Hebrew Senior Life says, including small group dining and virtual presentations of educational programs, hobby gatherings, spiritual activities and more.

Simpler finances. Residents no longer have to deal with the financial aspects of home management or worry about fluctuating home values.

The short-term challenges to senior living are undeniable, “but, properly designed, positioned and communicated, senior housing ultimately will emerge as a safe and secure living arrangement — especially during a pandemic like COVID-19,” says Moore, the president of Moore Diversified Services in Fort Worth, Texas.

“In this environment, the highest quality senior living communities have adapted quickly and responsibly. Those that do it best are, more than ever, some of the safest and most fulfilling places for an older adult to live,” adds Hebrew Senior Life.

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