Lana Peck headshot
Lana Peck, senior principal, NIC

The share of seniors housing and care organizations reporting decelerations in move-ins and occupancy rates is at an all time low for all segments during the pandemic, according to the latest bi-monthly executive survey from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, released Thursday. 

Fully 85% of respondents cited increased resident demand as a reason for the acceleration in move-ins in the past 30 days, the March 8 to March 21 survey found. The sunny reports are gaining warmth from continued vaccinations, with about 90% of participating organizations reporting that their residents are fully vaccinated.  

What’s more, more than one-third (38%) of survey respondents expect that their organizations’ occupancy rates will return to pre-pandemic levels this year. Approximately 60% are offering rent concessions, approaching a peak reached between November and January.

More operators plan to make staff vaccination mandatory

Staffing shortages, meanwhile, remain a challenge. Operators continue to report ongoing  problems with recruitment and retention exacerbated by the pandemic, with approximately 77% of respondents reporting shortages in their property portfolios. 

With staff vaccination rates stagnating at 55%, one in five respondents say they “definitely or probably” will make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for staff members. This is in line with the number who were leaning toward this move in the last survey wave (ending March 7), and continues to be higher than in February, when 11% said they planned to make the vaccine mandatory for staff at that time.

In a blog post, Lana Peck, NIC senior principal, noted the parallel between the 24 waves of survey results during the pandemic and the on-the-ground experience of operators “as they faced daily struggles to keep their residents and staffs safe from contagion and to save lives.”