Q.  Have older adults’ perceptions of senior living changed due to COVID-19?

A. Yes, but these perceptions are still generally favorable, and the future of senior living is optimistic.

Several industry surveys have been conducted with retirement community residents and marketing prospects regarding their perceptions of senior housing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Existing residents indicated that they felt very safe and secure in their retirement community. The community got high marks for cleaning and sanitation and being better equipped to deal with the challenges associated with COVID-19 than home.

Before COVID-19, most marketing prospects indicated that retirement communities sounded appealing and, for most, this perception did not change after the pandemic. Prospective residents did, however, exhibit a decrease in likelihood to move to a retirement community due to COVID-19. This could be because they did not have enough information regarding safety protocols and how policies would affect their overall lifestyle.

At a minimum, to feel safe, prospects need to see cleaning and disinfecting protocols, availability of COVID-19 testing and plans for dealing with potential infections. With these and other appropriate policies in place, increased occupancies in senior housing will be achievable in the future.

Editor’s note: This content appeared in print as the “You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers” column.

Jim Moore is president of Moore Diversified Services Inc., a national senior living and healthcare consulting firm based in Fort Worth, TX, that has been serving clients for 50 years. He has authored five books about senior living and healthcare, including Assisted Living Strategies for Changing Markets and Independent Living and CCRCs. He has published senior living monthly columns for the past 28 years.  Jim Moore can be reached at (817) 731-4266 or jimmoore@m-d-s.com.