To say the COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to the many disparities in our country is an understatement. Across the country, all industries have been grappling with “what’s next?” and how to make changes to remain relevant - and in business. For the senior housing industry, this has been a challenge in many different areas. The pandemic has exposed holes in the technology marketplace, forcing operators to rethink traditional strategies and look for new, innovative solutions.

Over the last six months, providers across the country have had to pivot and embrace the adoption of technologies that support older adults. While some states have started allowing in-person visits, the looming winter months are motivating senior living operators to act fast by implementing telehealth solutions, communication tools, and other high-demand products that will support residents and mitigate the spread of the virus.

The Rise of Technology As In-Person Visits Declined

When in-person visits disappeared, it left a void that many facilities didn’t know existed. While some forward-thinking facilities had already adopted telehealth solutions and embraced virtual care tools, others were forced to act fast to keep residents and staff alike safe and healthy. We quickly saw senior living providers scrambling to find solutions that would allow these facilities to monitor chronic conditions, improve mental health, implement contact tracing, offer virtual tours, and otherwise address the growing needs of this vulnerable population. 

Tech Budgets Increase to Combat Isolation

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns within the senior housing industry since the pandemic is isolation and loneliness amongst residents. This demographic has been challenged by COVID-19, as they are at a higher risk than others for contracting the virus. For senior living operators, this meant finding ways to support these individuals without compromising safety. Throughout the last six months, tech spending has increased in a way no one could’ve predicted. According to a recent survey by Senior Housing News, 80% of providers have reported a boost in tech spending to address concerns related to the pandemic. Looking ahead to 2021, 87% of facility operators said they plan on upping their tech budget to make room for upgrades and plan for an unknown future. And with 56% of providers stating they know technology will be important to the future of senior housing, but they aren’t sure in what capacity, it paints an interesting picture with room for improvement.

Although it can be easy to focus on the negative, it’s important to look forward to a brighter, kinder, more inclusive future. There is no question that technology has come leaps and bounds in recent years, transforming all industries and changing how we connect and communicate with one another at a rapid pace. What does this mean for the senior housing industry? Only time will tell, but we know for certain it will play a vital role. 

Curious about the current state of the senior living industry, or looking to invest in an assisted living facility? Contact Sherman and Roylance Real Estate Investment Services today to get started.