While one Largo, FL, assisted living community looks to expand its available bed count, nearby competitors are sharing concerns that the move will put even more strain on an industry still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. It’s a conflict likely arising throughout the country as senior living and care facilities plan for a post-pandemic future.
Earlier this month, the Largo Planning Board approved plans for the Lake House Assisted Living Facility to add a new 54,000-square-foot building with as many as 120 beds to its campus, according to an article Friday in Tampa Bay Newspapers. Co-owner Eric Moore told the media outlet that the 75 units at the family-owned and operated facility filled up fast when it opened about five years ago, and the community has maintained greater than 95% occupancy with a waiting list, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet representatives from nearby senior living and care facilities said they are concerned that adding more beds in the area will dampen their own recovery efforts.
“I’m concerned about more assisted living units being added during the next two to three years, creating an increasing challenge for all existing facilities and the new ones that are opening this year while we try to recover from this crippling, ongoing and wearing pandemic,” Robin Katchuk, executive director of Royal Palms Senior Living on the Palms of Largo campus, told Tampa Bay Newspapers.
Although Katchuk added that she is not trying to stop future additions to the city, she urged the planning board to delay Lake House’s approval until the effects of the pandemic could be estimated. Moore, however, told the media outlet that although he understands the concerns of other facilities, his place has done well because “it offers a cost-effective alternative for seniors, accepting Medicaid and providing concessions for care, and room and board.”
“We are providing something unique and it shows by our occupancy,” Moore said. “All it is, is better for the citizens for the city of Largo.”