Over the last several months, COVID-19 vaccination rates have increased across the United States, marking a new chapter for senior living communities and residents. In the middle of January, vaccination efforts turned to independent living and senior housing facilities, enabling anyone over the age of 65 to receive the vaccination. Now, at the beginning of April, 15 percent of the U.S. population and more than half of all seniors are fully vaccinated. This milestone has had a profound effect on senior living communities, as providers are once again updating protocols, including visitation and guidance for new residents.

This is good news for senior housing operators, providers, and investors, as the health and well-being of residents and staff have been a top priority throughout the pandemic. As more and more communities get vaccinated, operators are working together with the CDC and state regulators to ensure practices are in place that is in line with infection control protocols.

Vaccination Becomes a “Condition of Employment”

While resident well-being has been a top priority from the get-go, the industry’s workers have struggled and faced some of the most challenging circumstances. Now, many states have done so well with vaccinating at-risk groups, they are opening up appointments to the general public. For senior living workers, this means hope.

According to a recent survey by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), 80% of residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, while just 50% of staff have had the same. In another survey, 100% of residents had been vaccinated compared to 60% of staff. This is not due to lack of availability, but rather a puzzling trend of healthcare workers refusing to get vaccinated. Because of this, many operators are requiring all staff to get vaccinated as a “condition of employment.” Assisted living communities that are not following this protocol have been put on the “not vaccinated” list and may face repercussions down the road.

However, the communities that are vaccinated and moving forward into 2021 with a brighter outlook are set for transformation and an increase in occupancy rates. As vaccinated communities begin to reopen, residents can once again meet face-to-face with loved ones, sans mask. Many operators are incentivizing workers to get vaccinated and do their part in establishing a safer, more productive community. There is no question this will impact senior living investment and sale opportunities, we just aren’t sure exactly how, yet. To learn more, contact Sherman & Roylance Real Estate Investment Services. We assist those interested in selling or investing in senior living properties and also offer appraisals. Give our team a call today to learn more.