A recent article in the Wall Street Journal noted that the senior housing industry has had to make a number of adjustments to living, working procedures, and marketing efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Widely reported news of the spread of illness in senior housing during this pandemic has led to a number of older adults rethinking their plans to live in assisted living centers if instead they are able to stay home and have supplemental care from visiting nursing aides and/or family members. However, will the experience of this pandemic – and the expectation of future pandemics – linger with younger generations and leave them with a similar preference for aging at home?
While older adults have generally shown a strong preference for aging in place, that preference hasn’t been as enthusiastic among younger generations who have recently been more open to community living as they age. According to data from the September 2017 edition of The Freedonia Group National Online Consumer Survey, 62% of respondents 65 and older strongly agreed with the statement “I prefer to age in place”. In contrast, only 45% of millennials felt that strongly. In fact, 20% of millennials neither agreed or disagreed with the statement, indicating an openness to the option as their awareness is more likely to include active senior living centers that are more attractive and home-like compared to the senior care facilities available to past generations.
The industry and governmental regulators must take significant steps to reassure younger people that elder care communities are safe and good options for care, as younger people will help older family members make decision about where to live as they age and will ultimately decide for themselves one day as well.
For more information, see The Freedonia Group’s report on the elder care industry and other consumer topics, as well as Global Disposable Masks & Respirators and Global Disposable Medical Gloves. Additional targeted research is available from Freedonia Custom Research.