Positive News About Senior Living Communities During Covid-19

Jul 28, 2021
An assisted living nurse and female senior resident holding hands and laughing together

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone, worldwide, but for seniors, it was especially scary. From the media coverage of early outbreaks in senior living settings to ongoing restrictions and lockdowns, seniors in senior communities were singled out for attention due to their vulnerable status in the greater population.

Now, over a year since the pandemic began, a new study has been published that shows how much COVID-19 affected senior living communities and explains why healthy seniors fared the best.

Latest research findings

In early June, the study Final Report titled, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Seniors Housing,” was released by researchers at the non-partisan research group NORC at the University of Chicago that sheds new light on how senior living communities fought back when COVID hit. Funded by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, researchers examined senior populations in 113 counties across five U.S. states (Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania) in different types of senior communities and in the counties where they are located. The results show that no covid deaths occurred in:

  • 51% of senior housing properties.
  • 67% of independent living communities.
  • 64% of assisted living communities.
  • 61% of memory care communities.
  • 39% of skilled nursing facilities.

What these statistics also show is the very clear connection between the overall health of seniors and the risk of death from COVID-19, with the healthiest seniors, those in independent living, being the least impacted and the unhealthiest, those in skilled nursing, being the hardest hit.

This is further borne out by information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows most people who died of COVID-19 had pre-existing medical conditions, with just 6% listing COVID-19 as the sole cause of death.

Also notable is what researchers found relative to seniors in independent living communities compared to those in the same counties but not residing in senior living communities. According to the report, “Resident deaths in independent living settings were statistically comparable to the rates of death for older adults living in non-congregate settings in the same geographic area. Independent living had average adjusted mortality rates of 5.9 per 1,000 compared to 6.7 per 1,000 found for adults 75 and older living in the same counties.”

Simply put, seniors in independent living were found to be safer than seniors in the same county living outside of a senior community.

Senior living and safety

When COVID-19 hit, it hit everyone the same from businesses to healthcare facilities to senior living communities. No one saw it coming and most were not prepared for the virus, or for the many repercussions it caused. Today, however, with hard lessons learned, senior living is in a state of readiness for another health crisis, should one occur. Compared to a year ago, here’s what senior living communities now have in their arsenal:

Highly evolved and effective safety protocols developed by top health experts and covering the following and much more.

  • Disinfection procedures.
  • Personal hygiene practices like handwashing, etc.
  • Personal protective equipment including correct use and disposal.
  • Social distancing.
  • Isolation and quarantine policies and procedures.
  • Policies for staff leave and excused absences when ill.
  • Ventilation changes when possible.
  • Changes to interior spaces to encourage social distancing when possible.
  • Rules for staff to work while remaining safe.
  • Visitation policies.

Improved access to PPE supplies including how to optimize PPE supplies during a shortage, how to calculate how much PPE they need to have on hand, and how to know where to get certified PPE and avoid scams like those perpetrated in the early days of the pandemic.

Refined staff routines and training that incorporate the protocols, screening and other daily practices to provide the greatest possible protection for residents and staff from ongoing health threats like COVID-19. Now that they know what can happen, senior communities are working hard to maintain and even improve on safety inside and around their communities.

What’s really important to understand about how well most senior communities performed under the extreme conditions of COVID-19 is that they responded as quickly and effectively as possible given the situation, to make their communities safe havens, rather than COVID hotspots. Working with local, state and national health agencies, senior living staff were able to quickly get updated information as it became available and put it to use for their residents. And while some protocols like lockdowns and isolation may have seemed harsh at the time, we now know these measures saved countless lives.

At Ganton’s Countryside, we are thrilled to see the end of COVID-19 in sight, but rest assured, we stand ready to protect our residents from any and all threats to their health and wellbeing. For more information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.

assisted living near me

Subscribe to our blog.

Recent Posts

Michigan Senior Living: The Complete Guide for 2022

Ready to find your forever home in Michigan? You’re in luck! Few states come close to the natural beauty, affordability and high quality of life found in Pure Michigan. No matter what type of retirement community you’re looking for, you can find it here — if you know...

What the Best Michigan Memory Care Residences Have to Offer

For seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, memory loss can be jarring, lonely and even anger-inducing. They may be unable to remember basic facts, like what year it is, their location or a loved one’s name, all of which can contribute to feelings of a lost identity....

Top Qualities of the Best Retirement Communities in Michigan

Entering your golden years can be an exhilarating adventure, or it can be a stressful, uncertain transition. For most people, the difference comes down to whether or not they feel secure and supported in their new phase of life. Finding a retirement community that...

Assisted Living in Michigan: Everything You Need to Know

What happens when seniors can no longer live comfortably at home? Some people think that being unable to live alone means that a senior should enter nursing care, but that’s not necessarily true. The reality is that there are several living options in between total...

Memory Care Services in Jackson, MI.

Does your loved one struggle with serious memory loss? Losing memory and other cognitive functions is scary — it can feel like losing yourself. People who suffer from dementia and related conditions can become withdrawn and isolated, depressed or even angry. These...

Your Options for Assisted Living in Jackson, MI

How do you want to age? It’s a simple question, but an important one. Everyone who is lucky enough to live a long life will interact with old age, and preparing for that reality can make the aging process easier. By 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 or older. As the...

Comparing Costs of Assisted Living vs. Home Care

When envisioning retirement, seniors may plan to travel the world, spend more time with family and friends, or take up a new hobby to fill their days. But they don’t always plan for the cost of care should they need it. From just a little help with housekeeping to...

Senior Living in Jackson, MI: Guide for Seniors and Adult Children

The opportunity to grow older is a gift. It means more time to spend with the people you love, doing the activities you enjoy. There are a lot of misconceptions about getting older, especially when it comes to quality of life. Although ageist stereotypes may lead you...

Independent Living in Jackson, MI

Everyone ages, but no one ages in exactly the same way. Whereas some older people experience mobility issues and cognitive decline, others stay sprightly and mentally sharp their entire lives. That means that two seniors who are exactly the same age can have...

Share This