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.
Images: SFGate, Fohlio