The Future of the Life Plan Community Model
Everyone and every sector in this country is assessing the impact of COVID-19 on their future viability. Healthcare providers who have been front-and-center with the COVID-19 outbreak are closely assessing what their services and offerings look like moving forward. Within the senior living and care sector, we know that various entities have been impacted differently by COVID-19. Nursing homes have definitely been negatively impacted the most of all community and service types given the frailty of the residents in their care. So what about the Life Plan Communities? How have they been impacted and what does their future look like?
We know, based on research conducted by Ziegler, NIC (National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care) and others, that the Life Plan Communities were negatively impacted the least when comparing across community/facility types. In a May CFO HotlineSM survey, conducted by Ziegler, it was revealed that among not-for-profit Life Plan Communities, the vast majority (roughly 8 out of 10) who had positive COVID-19 cases had fewer than 2% of residents and staff impacted. In addition to the lower outbreak levels, there were a number of other indicators that reaffirmed a stable future for Life Plan Communities.
Understanding Consumer Needs and Life Plan Community Benefits
There are several points to be made about what COVID-19 has done to the consumer mindset and how Life Plan Communities are an even more viable option today.
- Living in a retirement community brings safety and security. This is especially true during times of distress and COVID-19 has brought that to the forefront. There are many seniors who have commented that living in a community is ???safer??? than living in the greater community where they may need to go out for groceries or pharmaceuticals and may face increased exposure.
- Social isolation is a real issue. While residents have been in many cases restricted to their units or apartments, this does not fully compare to the isolation of living in your home in the greater community. Back in early May, I had a brief conversation with a woman in her 80s who had stopped at the same roadside barbeque stand as I did to grab a meal to take home. Her first comment to me through her mask was, ???I live alone and I am so lonely.??? We know that staff within the communities have been actively working to engage residents and minimize social isolation issues. This is clearly a benefit of residing in a Life Plan Community who is devoted to the care and well-being of its residents.
- Concierge services to the rescue! Most providers would agree that they are providing an enhanced level of concierge-type services to residents during the COVID-19 lockdown. Since resident travel off-campus has been restricted, the community leadership has brought those services to the residents. This might include the setup of a temporary grocery store onsite, the delivery of various items directly to resident units or customized resident activities and engagement to maximize resident well-being. As restrictions loosen up, many of these services may stay in place for an extended period of time. This is appealing to a prospective resident.
Source: The full article can be found at Ziegler.com