Golden Years Stories
A new national survey of independent senior living communities residents (including Greencroft Campuses), staff and prospective residents released today by Plante Moran Living Forward and Retirement DYNAMICS® showed they overwhelmingly felt safe during COVID-19 and confident their communities had taken appropriate precautions to keep them safe.
Plante Moran Living Forward, the senior living development consulting division of Plante Moran Cresa and an affiliated entity of Plante Moran, partnered with Retirement DYNAMICS, one of the nation’s leading senior living consulting firms, and surveyed more than 23,000 residents and staff at senior independent living communities across the country, along with prospective future residents. While prospects worried about social isolation, shopping and other daily tasks when living in their own homes, survey results showed only a slight decrease in their likelihood to move into an independent living community as a result of the pandemic.
The survey also revealed:
- 92% of staff felt the community where they worked responded well to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 93% of residents felt their community took all precautions to keep them safe.
- 85% of staff agreed residents “are safer in their community than in their previous homes.”
- 77% of residents said they were “glad to be living in a community during the pandemic,” with 86% affirming they were glad they made the decision to move.
- Both prospective residents (61%) and residents (68%) felt socially isolated during shelter-in-place orders.
- 74% of prospective residents reported their time frame for a move has been unchanged by the pandemic.
While independent living communities received high marks from seniors on cleanliness, sanitation and communications, they didn’t fare so well in other areas. Residents generally gave their communities low remarks on alternative recreation and activities offered during shelter-inplace, as well as the variety and quality of food and dining options and technology. The survey
did not include assisted living or skilled nursing facilities.
“Our goal in conducting this survey was to gauge the sentiments of those living in, working in and thinking about moving to a senior living community,” said Dana Wollschlager, a Chicago-based partner who leads Plante Moran Living Forward. “We wanted to move beyond the overriding focus on nursing homes to take the pulse of other types of senior living communities.”
“The results of this survey, which was months in the making, gave us more than a few 'ah-ha' moments but generally affirmed that the majority of residents and staff felt their communities were doing the right things to keep them safe during the pandemic. They offered many thoughtful suggestions for improvement, which can provide the basis for some meaningful changes.”
President of Retirement DYNAMICS Bobby Sumner agreed, noting: “When we began this process, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. We wanted to ask specific questions about how people felt living and working in a senior community – or the prospect of living in one – and tap into their true feelings and sentiments.
“We wanted to understand the gravity of the social isolation we knew was taking place. We asked questions about how they were feeling what they were worried about, the effectiveness of the communications they were receiving and more. As we prepare to move into autumn and the upcoming flu season, we have identified 10 strategies backed by data that providers should consider to improve conditions for their current residents and teams – and improve outreach to those considering making a move.”
The survey, which had a 21.1% overall response rate, was sent to senior living communities around the United States. It posed both open-ended and multiple choice questions to each stakeholder group, generating more than 7,000 write-in comments.
Each Greencroft campus has reviewed the results specific to their campus to work on areas they feel can be improved.