The senior living industry headed into National Assisted Living Week Sunday with two big announcements still reverberating in the air.
First came President Biden’s Thursday evening speech at which he announced that companies with 100 or more workers will be required to ensure that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 — and give them paid time off so they can get the vaccine — or have workers undergo weekly testing. Then came Friday’s long-awaited announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services of the availability of $25.5 billion in COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund dollars.
With both announcements, the devil is in the details, as they say. The Labor Department is working on the vaccine mandate specifics, and as for the Provider Relief Fund, it remains to be seen how much will be doled out to assisted living providers, who to date have received less than 1% of all federal provider relief funding.
But we start the new week hopeful — hopeful that the vaccine requirement will aid providers who worried that workers would leave their employ if they mandated vaccination, hopeful that increased vaccination will finally put an end to the pandemic, and hopeful that assisted living providers will receive sufficient relief to help with the more than $30 billion in pandemic-related expenses and losses they’ve experienced to date.
Every day is a reminder of the tremendous efforts those in the industry have undertaken in the battle against the pandemic, and National Assisted Living Week is an opportunity to celebrate those efforts. The observance was created by the National Center for Assisted Living in 1995, and this year’s theme — Compassion, Community, Caring — is meant to “honor those resilient individuals who worked so hard, went above and beyond, and never gave up,” NCAL says.
The celebration goes through Saturday. I‘ll be checking out the hashtag #NALW on social media to see how assisted living communities are observing the week.
I’ll also be checking out #Argentum21, the hashtag for Argentum’s annual Senior Living Executive Conference, this year moved from May in Nashville, TN, due to the pandemic. On a personal note, it’s my first conference since the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care’s Spring Conference in March 2020. I know that for many others, it’s their first meeting in a long time as well. Even with the delta variant lingering, perhaps we can take our ability to gather again as another sign of hope.
I’m looking forward to the conference. If you’re in Phoenix, stop by the McKnight’s Senior Living booth, No. 1242, to say hello.