“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.
While it is still early to say if the seniors housing and care market is showing strong and durable signs of a recovery, several indicators from the NIC MAP® Data, powered by NIC MAP Vision, and from NIC Analytics have sparked cautious optimism and suggest that we may be at least at the bottom of the cycle. Occupancy rates may have reached the low point in February and March of 2021; however, the outlook for when occupancy will return to pre-pandemic levels remains a question.
“Executive Survey Insights results suggest that the seniors housing and care market fundamentals may have reached a turning point at the end of March 2021. According to survey respondents, leads volume continues to grow and the shares of organizations reporting accelerations in move-ins continues to trend positively. These leading indicators have been translating into higher occupancy rates since the Wave 25 survey, conducted in the latter half of March.”