Despite earlier speculation, the pandemic didn’t affect the urgency of prospective residents looking to move into senior living communities. That’s according to an article in the most recent issue of specialty investment bank Ziegler’s e-newsletter.

“Urgent need” is defined as move-ins that happen 30 or fewer days after an initial inquiry.

“The conventional wisdom suggests that the pandemic prompted greater urgency among some prospects to move in. …The results [of an analysis], broken out by community type, broadly indicate that the magnitude of change brought on by the pandemic in terms of

urgent need and days in the sales funnel from inquiry to move-in has been minimal,” wrote Lana Peck, formerly senior principal at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care and now vice president of research and analytics at Aline.

The analysis looked at more than 1.6 million new leads and 175,561 move-ins across 3,214 senior living communities since Jan. 1, 2022, and reached back to Jan. 1, 2019. Data include independent living, assisted living, memory care and continuing care / life plan communities.

Among the various community types, independent living communities saw the most change in the percentage of residents who moved in within 30 days of inquiry, going from 43% in 2019 to 49% in 2023. By contrast, assisted living communities saw very little change in the urgency of move-ins. In 2019, the percentage of older adults who moved into assisted living within 30 days of inquiry was 57%, compared with 56% in 2023. Memory care communities saw a bit of a bump, going from 59% in 2019 to 62% in 2023.

“Accordingly, approximately 50% to 60% of independent living, assisted living or memory care prospects could be considered less-demanding conversions in terms of time and effort compared to around 25% of [life plan community] leads,” Peck wrote.

CCRCs, Peck noted, typically experience less urgency in move-in times, because inquiries tend to be primarily lifestyle-driven rather than needs-based, unlike other segments of long-term care. The percentage of move-ins in CCRCs within 30 days of inquiry was 25% in 2019 versus 28% in 2023.

The proportion of CCRC leads “that stay in the sales funnel for longer than 365 days has hovered around 25% since before the pandemic, suggesting that the sales process has not been extended,” Peck added.