2020 was an unprecedented year for many reasons. Many predicted the 2020s would be a “transformative decade” for senior living and healthcare in the early months of the year. But COVID-19 had other plans, teaching us a valuable lesson that the future is unpredictable and nearly impossible to plan for. As we get our feet back under us and settle into the rhythm of 2021, the senior living industry is optimistic about what the future holds (without planning too far in advance). To recover from one of - if not the - worst year the industry has experienced, it’s crucial to identify trends that will make a difference and support the efforts of those in senior housing.

Housing Market Remains Strong 

One of the bright spots of 2020 for the senior living industry was the housing market. As a whole, the housing market soared in 2020, even with many other sectors struggling due to the pandemic. Good news for 2021, as Kiplinger predicts median home sales prices to increase by 5 to 6 percent, creating a seller’s market. Another mark in the positive column for the senior living industry is the number of Baby Boomers. In 2021, approximately 23 million Americans will be over 76, and nearly 9 million over 83. Both are common move-in ages for senior housing. As discussed last month, senior housing investors remain hopeful, as cap rates are steady going into the new year.

The Rise of Telehealth 

Another important trend to keep an eye on in the coming year is the rise of telehealth in senior housing and independent living facilities. The pandemic forced us to embrace technology and adapt to this new form of healthcare before many were ready, but this is undoubtedly a blessing in disguise. Senior living providers acted quickly last year, adopting technologies that support older adults and implementing groundbreaking telehealth solutions. Today, telehealth visits are the norm, and we expect this trend to continue, especially amongst vulnerable populations.

Other Senior Housing Trends to Watch For 

In addition to the above, we expect the following trends to reshape the senior living industry in 2021:

  • Resident wellness will remain a top priority for facilities.

  • Wearable technology will increase.

  • Video platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Google Hangouts will continue to support residents and help them stay connected and reconnect.

  • The rise of the “small-house model” in place of multi-hundred room facilities.

  • Co-housing trends.

  • Sales and marketing go digital.

The Sherman & Roylance Real Estate Investment Services team is keeping a close eye on the market as we settle into 2021. Are you considering investing in senior housing or selling a property? Give us a call to schedule an appointment and learn more about our services.