Virginia-based LifeSpire Living has a tentative date set of June 10 for the reopening of its four continuing care retirement communities to visitors and new residents. But as Jonathan Cook, the operator’s president / CEO shared in a recent National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care-sponsored blog, his communities have incorporated notable changes to keep residents safe, healthy and happy, even though they will likely take a toll on the operator’s bottom line.

The biggest effect, both on the resident community and the budget, will be a revamped dining program, featuring grab-and-go packaging, separate entrances and exits, expansions of dining rooms into outdoor spaces and heated patio tents, room tray service and mobile and web-ordering, Cook said. Employee break rooms will receive similar consideration and also will gain outdoor dining options.

Fitness classes will be smaller, and more frequent, which will require additional staff hours. Beauticians, tested and screened daily and equipped with full personal protective equipment, will visit residents in their homes. Visitors to the beauty shop will skip the waiting room and come when they receive a call, during which time the space will be sanitized.

Using modeling to project his team’s planning, Cook sees a backlog of deferred move-ins, a return to some elective procedures, and a balanced reallocation of resources that will help his communities adjust to a new normal and still be able to keep residents safe, healthy, and happy. 

LifeSpire also has budgeted for new gatehouses, designed to control access to its facilities and continued screening of all visitors. And as staffing needs ramp up, new procedures for recruiting and onboarding will be in place, including the use of FaceTime for interviews and screening for COVID-19 as part of routine measures.

“We think this is certainly going to represent some expenses, but it’s not anything we’re not going to be able to recover from,” Cook told NIC.