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There will be lots of changes in the Post Covid world~one that can be predicted immediately is the change in how people will perceive Senior Citizen Care Homes. There’s been lots of  marketing for these facilities which have  multiple units with a shared dining room, group activities and excursions.

What the Covid Crisis revealed is that in a case of a pandemic, care home residents are locked in, away from families and trips out. If non-verbal these residents have no way to communicate with family.  There has been stories of couples married for a half century trying to communicate through an exterior glass window. There has also been video  of a daughter playing a trumpet  below her Dad’s closed care home window in Vancouver’s west end. Her father has sadly now  passed away from the Covid virus.

During this current Covid pandemic, the virus is in over 600 seniors’ care homes in Ontario. In that province there is advice for families to take their loved ones out of these care homes during this outbreak. 

More than 80 percent of deaths in Ontario have been at seniors’ care homes.

Senior Citizens’ residences have previously been  seen as a good financial investment. In a recent survey,19 percent of investors said they had  seniors’ care housing in their portfolio. It had been touted as a low risk investment with high returns as the baby boomers are  perceived as driving demand, with nearly 80 million seniors in the USA  by 2035.

In the US, housing stock for seniors is vintage too, with 58 percent of residences more than 17 years of age, and 32 per cent more than 25 years of age. The typical senior housing resident is 83 years old or more. Care homes completely cycle their clients in an average of two years.

The oldest baby boomers, born in 1946 are now 74 years of age. An Ipsos study shows that in Canada 93 percent of homeowners over 65 intend to remain in their current homes. Independence, being close to family and community, and emotional attachment were cited as reasons to stay put. With the average Metro Vancouver monthly rent for complete care retirement homes at close to $7,500 monthly in 2018,  and at $8,800 monthly in Vancouver, the baby boom may just choose to stay where they are. The Covid crisis in care homes is another factor making staying put more appealing.

If seniors age in place in their existing housing be it apartment, townhouse or house, programming will have to adjust to those “at home” needs. Many of these existing homes  will have accommodations that can be divvied up or shared, and the opportunity to create several accessible units in one house has already been suggested  by one prominent seniors’ housing advocate. Seniors are now getting used to home delivery of groceries and accessing medical care with telehealth.

Meanwhile stocks of companies invested in seniors care homes have declined rapidly as an investment, and BMO Capital Markets expect occupancy in seniors’ units to potentially fall 50  percent. The Covid isolation being experienced in seniors’ care homes “is arguably a larger strain on occupancy than the virus itself” greatly impacting interest in the housing form.

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Images: SFGate, Fohlio

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. thanks for this post, Sandy.

    We humans see the future and we don’t prepare – enviro, corona, the list goes on, and it includes seniors housing.

    Having worked in the seniors’ industry since 2005, have watched it become increasingly corporate and institutional under the watchwords safety and privacy, until they are little more than warehouses. And, we must remember, residential care is not permanent. Once a person passes from independent living, they can opt for assisted living, at an additional cost. Most seniors’ residences do not offer extended care services on their premises. When this stage of life arrives, generally when seniors are very frail and elderly, they must find new housing. Imagine what that experience will be, when it’s our turn in the system.

    This way of life is acceptable, even welcomed by most people. Offspring like it because their parents are, or were, safe. Parents accept it, because generally there is no alternative. Most care centre staff are genuinely caring, however, like the residents, they are bound by corporate policy.

    That carefree life, so carefully promoted, where all needs are met, comes at a high price – exorbitant monthly rates, and the lack of heart and empathy. in my experience, the resulting emotional isolation is the primary cause of death for seniors.

    for people who have their own homes, with an extra room, it is economically feasible to opt for live-in care.

    for those at home who must rely on private care agencies or provincial health authorities, the reality is grim. one example of many came to me yesterday. Lack of training, cultural differences, low wages compromise staff and the care they are able to provide in both the public and private sectors.

    in the past few days, I have heard several examples of the stresses seniors in care and at home have experienced both before and after corona entered their lives. here is one recent story I was told, and which I have witnessed many times over the years: a friend who is recovering at home spoke of care aides who don’t arrive, who have 20 minutes to help her in the morning (get up, washed, dressed, breakfasted, settled), different workers every day, each needing to be told where dishes, cutlery, food etc are stored (all within the short time allotted).

    When I started in the seniors industry in 2005, it was with joy and optimism at the possibilities for innovative care and housing arrangements in the seniors’ care industry. There were, and are, examples, of humane seniors’ housing but generally, corporate for profit ownership and institutionalism provincially and federally, have combined to create the current housing landscape for seniors.

  2. thanks for this post, Sandy.

    We humans see the future and we don’t prepare – enviro, corona, the list goes on, and it includes seniors housing.

    Having worked in the seniors’ industry since 2005, have watched it become increasingly corporate and institutional under the watchwords safety and privacy, until they are little more than warehouses. And, we must remember, residential care is not permanent. Once a person passes from independent living, they can opt for assisted living, at an additional cost. Most seniors’ residences do not offer extended care services on their premises. When this stage of life arrives, generally when seniors are very frail and elderly, they must find new housing. Imagine what that experience will be, when it’s our turn in the system.

    This way of life is acceptable, even welcomed by most people. Offspring like it because their parents are, or were, safe. Parents accept it, because generally there is no alternative. Most care centre staff are genuinely caring, however, like the residents, they are bound by corporate policy.

    That carefree life, so carefully promoted, where all needs are met, comes at a high price – exorbitant monthly rates, and the lack of heart and empathy. in my experience, the resulting emotional isolation is the primary cause of death for seniors.

    for people who have their own homes, with an extra room, it is economically feasible to opt for live-in care.

    for those at home who must rely on private care agencies or provincial health authorities, the reality is grim. Lack of training, cultural differences, low wages compromise staff and the care they are able to provide in both the public and private sectors.

    in the past few days, I have heard several examples of the stresses seniors in care and at home have experienced both before and after corona entered their lives. here is one recent story I was told, and which I have witnessed many times over the years: a friend who is recovering at home spoke of care aides who don’t arrive, who have 20 minutes to help her in the morning (get up, washed, dressed, breakfasted, settled), different workers every day, each needing to be told where dishes, cutlery, food etc are stored (all within the short time allotted).

    When I started in the seniors industry in 2005, it was with joy and optimism at the possibilities for innovative care and housing arrangements in the seniors’ care industry. There were, and are, examples, of humane seniors’ housing but generally, corporate for profit ownership and institutionalism provincially and federally, have combined to create the current housing landscape for seniors.

  3. Thanks Sandy. Your submission, as well as Laura’s reply, draws emphasis for a need to totally rethink accommodation for seniors in our future. What we have is far from satisfying. That our current approaches are so beset with corporate interests that are extremely resistant to public regulation makes the need for a rethink all the more essential. That so many seniors are stuck on staying in place in their communities indicates that many see the pitfalls of the current alternative opportunities.

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