When the pandemic first started, there were senior living providers who stayed optimistic that Covid-19 would create a demand for employment once the vaccines have been distributed, and once the public health crisis is under control.
But with a vaccine now imminent, the evidence and prospects for suppressed demand are mixed. Some supplier executives and other industry analysts are optimistic about a speedy recovery, and others are predicting a more extended recovery period.
Those optimistic claims argue that Covid-19 has slowed the move to seniors. This could eventually result in quick career gains, significantly as older adults develop more urgent needs that can no longer be met at home.
“What we have heard from operators is that adult children have realized that caring for elderly parents is much more difficult than expected,” Tom Herzog, CEO of real estate investments at Healthpeak (NYSE: PEAK), said in May. “Some of these grown children worry about themselves and realize that their parents cannot fend for themselves. There is undoubtedly a delay. Waiting to get into these communities. ”
But while health needs can force relocations, and a vaccine will undoubtedly help reduce fears of the infectious risks of common environments, senior health care providers will need to restore the confidence of a consumer who has passed – and an incomplete question would have been incredibly quickly restoring the utilization rate that has fallen for some organizations.
The industry is facing historically low employment rates during the pandemic. The average employment rate among the 31 primary markets tracked by the National Investment Center for Elderly Housing and Care (NIC) fell to 82. 1% in the third quarter of 2019. This is 5. 6% less than in the first quarter. Assisted housing, in particular, struggles with employment, finishing the quarter at 79. 1% – less than 85. 7% in the first quarter. And occupancy has continued to slide this year, with the largest provider in the U. S. – Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) – reporting November heavy average occupancy at 73%.
But sales data give reason to be optimistic, especially since active adult communities have shown strength. This indicates that demand remains resilient even among older adults who do not have urgent care needs.
Miscellaneous prospects for recovery Every executive in Senior Housing News – operating companies, sales, and marketing executives, and financial analysts – believes there is demand. But as the U. S. struggles with another positive case of coronavirus and vaccines, it is set to be introduced soon for health care workers and vulnerable populations. The feed rate varies.
Degne Clark, CEO of Aegis Living, plans to capitalize on demand as soon as winter gives way to spring. Bellevue, Wash., Assisted Living, and Memory Care operator reports strong pre-leasing in six emerging communities – the development got scheduled to open more than one year, already 25% in advance. This level of pre-leasing is unprecedented, he said.
Besides, signs of impending occupancy growth extend to Aegis ’32 operating communities in Washington, California, and Nevada. The company’s sales and marketing teams report that opportunities have decided to decide, but want to see what the environment will look like as vaccines become more common and restrictions get eased, Clark said.
‘It’s one thing to move from your 3,000 square foot home to a beautiful retreat center and make new friends. It is another to go from your house of 3000 square meters to an apartment of 700 square meters and be isolated,” he said.
When this requirement finally returns to local communities, it will be to the advantage of strong organizations with stable operations and large financial reserves to have overcome short-term and medium-term.
“I think this recovery will be a hockey stick: in late spring and summer, we will say, ‘God, we had ten moves this week,'” he said.
Randy Richardson, president of Vi, is encouraged by the results of a virtual marketing campaign launched by the Chicago operator in July to start a lead generation. New leads have been improving every month since several communities restarted sales efforts, and in November, you sold at a rate close to the level before Covid.
‘It tells me that people still have an interest in our product, and they want to move on,” he said.
But another industry leader, Randy Bury, CEO of the Evangelical Lutheran Society for the Good Samaritan, sees a longer wait for the occupation to recover. Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Good Sam is one of the largest nonprofit providers of seniors living in the United States, operating in 153 locations in 24 states.
“I do not think our tap will reopen,” he said. “There will be a delay while people wait and see what happens in these facilities. ”
Older adults who are healthy enough to postpone moving into senior life may decide to “bite their time,” stay home, or live with family members for a few more months, Bury expects. To the extent that the pandemic has increased the number of people working from home, it may also play a role.
“If they work from home, it’s a little easier to have mom or dad at home, take care of them and offer the basic services they need,” he said. “And it may be easy enough for them to postpone the transition to life assistant. ”
This perspective may be at odds with what the Herzog of Healthpeak said in May, that adult children recognize the difficulty of caring for their parents. As with so many Covid-19-related issues, the reality could be somewhere in between, but Healthpeak is not betting on the future of a speedy recovery of nursing homes either. The pandemic has prompted the company to try to sell most of the real estate to the elderly.
Scotiabank analysts are also more pessimistic about the recovery speed, based on recent findings from a consumer survey the bank conducted. Although limited in scope, the collection collected responses from 264 people, but the survey reinforced the idea that potential residents could take a wait-and-see approach.
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