Wellness is a word we see tossed around the senior housing industry a lot, especially these days. Not only are seniors living longer than previous generations, but Baby Boomers carry an entirely new set of needs and expectations. Often referred to as the gray or silver tsunami, Baby Boomers are entering their later years at a staggering pace. According to the 2020 Census, this generation is estimated at about 73 million

Unfortunately, making room for the millions of Baby Boomers that will undoubtedly need care in the coming years isn’t the only hurdle facing providers right now. Nearly 8 months into pandemic, assisted living facilities across the country are dealing with the domino effects of COVID-19. Many have adapted on the fly, leveraging tech to support residents and staff in these unprecedented times. Others are looking ahead to the future, wondering what life after the pandemic looks like for the senior housing market. 

But one thing providers have in common is a concern about deteriorating resident wellness. Moving into a possible third wave of the virus, operators and staff are looking for safe ways to support residents feeling socially isolated, anxious, and depressed. 

How Wellness Impacts Health 

As we know, assisted living communities were hardest hit as the virus swept through the United States. Operators scrambled to find ways to protect residents from the deadly virus, but what about your mental well-being? Over the last several months, we’ve seen an increase in the number of prescriptions for mood-stabilizing medications. This is no coincidence, as the pandemic has taken a toll on residents in many different capacities - physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Throughout the industry, providers are rethinking how wellness is addressed and looking for positive, impactful alternatives to traditional care. Many residents aren’t getting as much physical exercise as they were previously due to COVID restrictions, which is taking a toll on their mental wellness

Taking a New Approach to Wellness 

Isolation, lack of physical activity, and anxiety surrounding the virus are all areas of concern for senior living operators. However, providers have turned to a wide range of tools and techniques to address pressures of the pandemic and support residents. Here are just some of the ways assisted living communities are pivoting to address wellness concerns amongst seniors: 

  • Using telehealth to connect residents with doctors.

  • Scheduling virtual visits with loved ones. 

  • Monitoring signs of loneliness, depression, and lack of mobility. 

  • Physical therapy. 

  • Adding mental health resources. 

  • Transition programs to help new residents adjust. 

The senior living industry is resilient, no doubt. We predict the future of these communities to be backed by integrated care models, allowing staff to adjust the type of care for each resident’s needs. Although preventing the spread of the virus within assisted living communities is a top priority for providers, the need for wellness and mental health solutions is apparent. To find out more about how COVID-19 has affected the senior living industry, or if you are curious about i investment opportunities, don’t hesitate to contact Sherman & Roylance Real Estate Investment Services and ask about our services.