"The pace of move-ins has slowed as the COVID-19 delta variant spreads primarily among the unvaccinated. In Wave 32, about one-quarter of organizations with assisted living apartments and/or nursing care beds, and about one in five with memory care units reported a deceleration in the pace of move-ins across their portfolio of properties in the past 30-days. Nursing care occupancy has taken a jolt with nearly 40% of organizations indicating that occupancy declined.
“Despite the rise in circulation of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, resident demand remains the driving force behind acceleration in the pace of move-ins. Between roughly 55% and 60% of organizations report that the pace of move-ins accelerated in the past 30-days, and similar proportions report a corresponding increase in occupancy. Other reasons for relatively strong pace of move-ins include residents moving through the continuum of care and the success of redoubled marketing efforts.
“As the market fundamentals in seniors housing and care continue to trend positively since the COVID-19 vaccine became available, and operators are shifting gears from reacting to the threat of contagion in their communities to recovering census, many are finding their organizations returning to some form of operational normalcy in the face of considerable labor challenges. Wages and benefits are typically significant operating expenses for seniors housing and care providers even in the best of times. In the Wave 30 survey, about half of respondents reported that attracting community and caregiving staff was the biggest challenge their organizations are facing 16 months into the pandemic.
“Recent data from NIC’s Executive Survey Insights, NIC MAP® Data, powered by NIC MAP Vision, and NIC Analytics suggest that cautious optimism may be justified as occupancy rates appear to have reached their low points around the end of March and are gradually improving for many operators of seniors housing and care properties across the nation. Between 48% and 71% of organizations reported upward changes in occupancy depending on the type of care segment. Of note, more than a third of organizations with assisted living residences and nearly one-half with nursing care beds saw occupancy increases of three percentage points or more.