coronavirus chart showing downward trend

Although the impact of the pandemic on nursing homes has been widely publicized, many of Georgia’s assisted living communities — which often are private-pay — also have been experiencing significant financial struggles due to COVID-19. That’s according to an analysis Friday in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. 

Atlanta has one of the most overbuilt markets for senior housing in the country, with the second lowest occupancy rate among the 31 major metro markets, according to a report last month by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

In an attempt to protect residents and staff from the virus, many assisted living communities have had to absorb high costs for testing and personal protective equipment. At the same time, occupancy has shrunk at many facilities, further squeezing finances. State figures show that half the beds are unoccupied at dozens of Georgia senior living communities as they remain on lockdown. Without federal assistance, many assisted living operators in Georgia and across the country could face “an untenable financial crisis,” James Balda, president and CEO of Argentum, told the news organization. 

“Over time, the strain is going to be significant,” Balda said.