Impact of COVID-19 on senior living industry

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The outburst of novel Coronavirus has impacted almost all the sectors of the economy, including real estate. Senior living, too, has been affected to a great extent. However, in order to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the senior living industry, one must compare the experience of the senior citizens who are living on their own or in mixed-family condominiums with the experience of residents staying in a senior living community.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need to provide a solution to the day-to-day challenges faced by our seniors. To apprise, senior citizens account for nearly nine percent of the Indian population. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 mayhem and the repetitive warnings that the virus tends to be more severe among the elderly, it is natural for the senior citizens to be anxious. However, it is not just the heightened risk of infection that keeps them anxious, there are many who are struggling with loneliness, restricted mobility, and lack of finances. Here is when a senior living community comes into play.

There are some essential promises that a community designed with seniors in mind delivers to its residents:

The service program is designed to ensure that all the day-to-day activities, including housekeeping, maintenance, and dining requirements are delivered in a manner that provides the residents the time to relax and an opportunity to be their best.

The Wellness and wellbeing program is scientifically designed to ensure that the residents remain physically strong, mentally alert and intellectually stimulated in a socially engaging environment. This approach to ‘positive aging’ keeps residents healthier for long and allows them to enjoy their lives to the fullest.

The medical program and services offered by the nurses, the attending doctor and the paramedical team members is meant to address the regular and emergent needs of the residents. Relationships are forged with nearby hospitals that allows for quick cashless admission, preferential access, health data exchange to allow residents immediate and effective access to medical care in emergencies.

Amid the lock down and the ongoing battle against COVID-19, the communities designed for seniors have been able to ring fence their residents from any kind of exposure to the external environment. Senior living communities, with the help of their in-house teams, have been able to support their residents and provide them with services, essential items, medical supplies and security.

Furthermore, physical exercise and social engagements are being continued, while respecting physical distancing norms. In addition, digital interventions organised by the community have allowed for intellectual stimulation and access to friends and family outside the community. This further augments their morale and consequently their immunity levels.

To summarise, the communities designed for seniors have an ecosystem that supports and serves the needs of the residents.

The experience is in contrast with the concerns faced by the seniors and their families based in different cities. Such enhanced experience has resulted in increased interest for senior living communities.

Resultantly, enquiries for homes, both for rental and purchase, have doubled in the last three weeks. Real estate developers are also looking to diversify their portfolio and offer a more differentiated product mix within their integrated townships. Hence, they are looking to partner service providers who have the expertise in designing, marketing, serving and providing the healthcare needs for residents of a senior living community.

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