Between 42% and 54% of organizations with assisted living units, memory care units or nursing care beds reported occupancy declines over the past 30 days, according to data collected from the most recent Executive Survey conducted by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. These declines in occupancy are the highest since late May for the memory care and nursing care segments and late June for assisted living.
The severity of the occupancy declines also increased in the latest survey. One-half of operators with nursing care beds noted downward changes in occupancy rates, and greater shares of organizations with nursing care beds in Wave 16 noted declines in occupancy of 10% or more than in the prior three waves of the survey. About one-third of organizations with nursing care beds reported occupancy declines of 3% or more.
The latest survey — Wave 16 — included responses collected Nov. 9 to 22 from owners and executives across 87 senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities.
Survey results also found that many senior living and care organizations have seen a decrease in the pace of move-ins as a result of the latest surge nationwide in cases of COVID-19. The shares of independent living, memory care and nursing care reporting a decrease in move-ins is at its highest level since late May, according to NIC.
Further, the slowdown in the pace of move-ins may be leading to an increase in the number of residents waiting to move in. Now at the highest point in the survey, approximately one-third of respondents (34%) had a backlog of residents waiting to move in. This finding may suggest that once a vaccine is distributed, operators may see an increase in move-ins and occupancy rates.
“Due to growing cases of COVID-19 in many parts of the country, market conditions appear to be trending in a similar pattern to that seen earlier in the pandemic,” said Lana Peck, senior principal at NIC. “As potential new residents wait on the sidelines and delay moving into properties, operators remain challenged to backfill newly available units. Recent announcements of vaccine approvals should help restore occupancy in the coming months.”