Survey: Seniors Housing Properties Maintain Occupancy Amid Pandemic

Contrary to speculation that families are removing their elderly loved ones from seniors housing in fear of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey reports that 79 percent of operators saw no significant changes in move-outs last week and no significant changes in occupancy.

Activated Insights, the senior care group of Great Place to Work, conducted the survey of private-pay seniors housing operators representing 1,078 buildings and 100,899 units.

Several U.S. operators noted that sales and marketing activities including all move-ins have been halted completely during the pandemic. Other operators continued to allow pre-scheduled move-ins to occur, though with extra steps and screening. In fact, 21 percent of operators reported increased occupancy.

Some operators attributed this increase to how families often realize they are not in a position to take care of an elderly or disabled loved one at home. Moreover, as one CEO commented, “they are much safer with us since we are cleaning and screening like mad.” Many of these move-ins are from pre-scheduled moves or families who have toured and were in sales consideration. Nearly all are heavily screened.

“The data reflect how quickly seniors housing operators have adapted lessons learned in Washington state to protect our nation’s vulnerable elders and frontline staff by upholding the highest standards of care,” says Robert Kramer, founder and strategic advisor at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC). “The results from this survey are especially timely since the investment community has been starved for data in this time of uncertainty.”

The methodology for this study was based on phone surveys conducted on Wednesday, March 18, and Thursday, March 19, by Activated Insights. The 100,899 units represent close to 8 percent of the overall seniors housing inventory.

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