Question of the Month: The Truth About Seniors Housing

What is the biggest misconception about seniors housing and what can our industry do about it?

Confusion about types of care

By James Balda

President and CEO

Argentum

Among the general public, there has always been confusion on how long-term care breaks down regarding service models, funding and regulations, and this has become especially problematic during COVID-19. 

During this crisis, we have leaned in on educating lawmakers and media on the many distinctions between skilled nursing and senior living. These groups are directly addressing the general public, so it’s essential they have a full grasp of the challenges senior living continues to face in receiving federal assistance at this critical time. Together, we need to continue to educate all stakeholders now and once COVID-19 passes.

Spread the good news

By Jerrold Frumm

Vice Chairman and Chief Investment Officer

Senior Lifestyle Corp.

The general public should be aware that great things happen in senior living communities every day. Meaningful connections are made. Residents and their families are delighted by dedicated staff members who provide care, dining services and opportunities for engagement and social interaction.  

While staying in a private home may seem attractive to many older adults, isolation, loneliness and managing care present serious challenges for the elderly living alone. The industry and those who support it must continually tell the positive, uplifting stories about senior living to change the stereotypes so often portrayed.

Build more affordable housing

By Linda Couch

Vice President for Housing Policy

LeadingAge

Our most important advocacy target is expanding the supply of affordable housing for older adults. 

There is a myth that if older adults need housing assistance, they’ll have access to it. The reality is there are typically two- to five-year waiting lists for affordable seniors housing. Another myth is that older adults are doing fairly well. The reality is more and more people are aging into poverty and having to choose between housing costs, food and medicine. 

The more we educate policymakers on the realities of the need, the closer we’ll be to expanding and preserving affordable housing.

It’s not all nursing homes

By Dan Hermann

President and CEO

Ziegler

There is a general misconception that all community and facility types are alike. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the mass media unfortunately, initially and for some time, labeled the entire sector as “nursing homes.” 

We need to continue to educate the public on the variety of housing and care options available and utilize the internal resident champions to help tell their stories. Ziegler, along with many others in the field, continues to spread the message of the resilience and overall health of the senior living and care sector.