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Senior Care Facilities Trends in the Era of COVID-19 Variants

The impact of Coronavirus is approaching two years and will likely be felt for many more years to come. During this time, the most impacted of our society has been the elderly. Not only is this group of people so susceptible to the effects of COVID-19, they also often require hands-on, close-contact care.

For seniors, deciding to move into an assisted living care facility during this time is even more challenging.

As a trusted resource to the elder care community, we are dedicated to providing information and solutions for seniors and senior care professionals in our region.

Today, we’d like to share the findings of our recent research into the impact on seniors and senior care facilities in the wake of COVID-19 variants like Delta. While each individual experience is personal, there are common trends happening that have real solutions that will help seniors and professionals alike. Addressing fear, taking mandates and regulations head-on, and combatting staff shortages are three of the areas we’ll cover today.

Trend #1: Fear

It should come as no surprise that seniors and caregivers have expressed higher levels of fear and concern about entering an assisted living facility than in previous years. There have been so many unknowns as we’ve all navigated this pandemic.

On the other hand, these same people had significant concerns about not entering into a facility and being a burden on family members or providing inadequate care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Informal or unpaid caregiving has been associated with elevated levels of depression [and] increased risk of early death.”

As everyone has adjusted to the pandemic, better protocols and resources have become available for seniors and the people providing them with medical care. For example, Virginia has created a COVID-19 Long-Term Care Task Force.

This task force and others like it around the country are designed to provide extra resources to combat the virus including access to testing, vaccines, personal protective equipment, and communication tools.

Facilities that offer increased COVID-19 resources and protections will put seniors’ minds at ease and tip the scales towards moving into that facility.

Trend #2: Mandates and Restrictions

In our research, this trend was like a double-edged sword. In an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, many assisted living or long-term care facilities implemented vaccination and testing mandates along with visitation restrictions.

Some residents were relieved by the measures, while others who were hesitant to get the vaccine felt unheard and marginalized.

In an article out of California, Brad Heap, administrator of Atherton Park Post-Acute in Menlo Park, said: “Obviously the pandemic has been pretty tough on this whole industry, but now I’m feeling optimistic. The crisis led to better communication procedures with residents’ families.”

What we at MarketPro Homebuyers have found is that facilities that found the balance between safety and reasonable precautions through effective communication have been the most successful in this phase of the pandemic.

Trend #3: Staff Shortages

The close-contact risks, mandates, and restrictions have also impacted long-term care staff. The work they do on a daily basis is difficult. At a minimum, proper care required training, skill, and patience.

Many facilities feared that if they implemented vaccination mandates that some of their staff would not comply and quit the industry or go to competitors with no mandates.

This summer, as infection rates were coming down, this was more of a concern. But as the more contagious Delta variant emerged, more and more facilities implemented vaccination requirements of staff and patients.

The CT Mirror reported that Maisoncare, a nursing home company in Connecticut implemented a vaccination mandate and “lost fewer than 30 employees out of a 1,700-person workforce.”

The common thread we have heard from senior care professionals is that communication, a focus on safety, and reasonable accommodations have made all the difference. For facilities that can’t or won’t implement vaccine mandates, regular testing as an alternative has been appreciated and adopted by staff.

It’s All About Safety and Planning

At MarketPro Homebuyers, the health and well-being of our clients is our top priority. By focusing on the safety of the seniors in our community and having a strong plan to prepare for their care, we can all feel a little more confident moving forward in this pandemic and any other challenges that come our way.

One way that MarketPro Homebuyers has been able to help our elderly friends and their caregivers, is to make the sale of their house as simple and streamlined as possible. Our team of experts will make a fair cash offer for the home and make the process fast and painless.

In some situations, we can even help with packing, moving, and other expenses. If you or someone you know is looking to make new arrangements for an elderly family member, please contact us today!

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