It’s true that senior living communities — primarily nursing homes — have been hit hard by the COVID pandemic. A vulnerable population in a somewhat congested environment is always susceptible to a highly contagious infection.
But for the most part, senior living communities did an outstanding job in both preventing the virus from entering their domain and containing it if and once it did.
My wife’s father lives in an assisted living community, and although several staff members became infected from outside contact, they were quarantined away from the community, and the virus never took hold inside. Admittedly, that is a combination of luck and diligence, but the more diligent you are, the luckier you become.
As you would expect, nationwide the population — or occupancy rate — in senior living communities has diminished significantly. That’s understandable. With so many unanswered questions about the origins, contagiousness, and lethality of the virus, there was a hesitancy to move into a largely unknown ecosystem.
However, according to NIC, after 12 consecutive months of decline, occupancy rates for assisted living communities have begun to increase. What does this mean?
The pandemic has began to subside, although it is not yet over. We have started to realize that we can take measures to control, if not eliminate it. Our eyes have been opened.
Just as importantly, we understand that living in a senior living community may well be the safest way to go. Communities have become more vigilant about the threat of infection, and this vigilance should always remain no matter how distant in the rearview mirror the pandemic becomes.
A senior living community, if managed well, should be a controlled environment, from checking-in visitors at the entrance to monitoring all aspects of the health and well being of its residents. That’s why they exist.
Are senior living communities perfect? Not by any means. But they are consistently improving, and our aging population requires and deserves the additional support, protection, and nurturing that senior living communities were designed to provide.
During these uncertain times, senior living communities are more important than ever.