There’s a lot to take in related to the American Seniors Housing Association’s second national consumer survey, conducted in December with ProMatura. Results were released Monday.

In this blog, however, I’ll share the bottom line of what you can get out of the results.

As background, researchers analyzed surveys from a sample of 4,321 individuals from 208 communities as well as older adult households (75+) with incomes of $35,000 or more — senior living community prospects — as well as middle-aged households (45 to 64) with incomes of $100,000 — adult children. Participants were in 21 metropolitan statistical areas.

How they responded tells you what you need to know to make prospective residents and their adult children feel comfortable about move-ins.

Overall, early access to a COVID-19 vaccine was enticing, more so for prospective residents than for their adult children. Respondents also said that a guaranteed three-year rate freeze or a waived payment of move-in fees or community fees would incentivize them to move sooner than they otherwise would. Interestingly, however, the availability of telehealth didn’t seem to be much of a draw, with survey participants of all ages saying that they would rather see a physician in person if given the choice.

Some findings vary by setting. For instance, for independent living, the greatest proportions of households who plan to move to such a community said they will need to see detailed cleaning and safety protocols in place, proof that all residents and staff members have been vaccinated, and assurance that the community is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding COVID-19 before making a move, according to ASHA and ProMatura.

For assisted living move-ins to occur, those planning to move to such communities said, COVID-19 needs to be under control across the United States. Additionally, they seek assurance that the vaccine is, in fact, effective against the coronavirus. And prospects said that they don’t want to move into assisted living until their health and mobility declines to the point that they need the services provided there.

Primary care physicians or other health practitioners are the most trusted sources of information about moving to assisted living, according to prospects participating in the research. “It is important that marketing teams keep local doctors’ offices and healthcare organizations up to date on the safety practices and protocols in place because many prospects are relying on this source when making the decision to move,” the authors wrote.

For memory care, the adult children considering such communities said that a community has to be COVID-free, and units and common areas have to be cleaned daily before they will feel that it is safe enough to move in a loved one.

ASHA and ProMatura said they are encouraged by the survey results.

“The steps that consumers are asking communities to take before they feel safe moving in are already in progress across all parts of the country,” the researchers said. “Though it still remains clear that COVID-19 has made its mark, there is still ample opportunity for progress and continued move-ins across all levels of care.”

For more information, read what McKnight’s Senior Living Content Editor Kim Bonvissuto wrote about the research here.

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