What 9.1% Inflation and a Looming Recession Could Mean for Senior Living Communities
Senior living is frequently considered “recession-proof” because it’s predominantly a needs-based industry. But after two years of low occupancies caused by the pandemic, rising costs and a middling economy are putting this label to the test.
Here’s how market conditions may impact your community – and what you can do to prepare and deliver an exceptional experience to your residents and staff.
Layoffs Will Deepen Talent Pools for Senior Living
While the market remains favorable for job seekers – there are roughly 1.5 jobs for every unemployed person in the United States – inflation has started to hit businesses hard. And employers across various industries are responding by laying off staff and issuing hiring freezes.
There’s still a high demand for talent in the senior living space, though. Despite many communities leveraging agency staffing and relying on overtime labor, 48 percent of assisted living providers still worry they’ll need to close over staffing shortages.
Savvy leaders can use this moment to position their communities as an attractive landing spot for recently laid-off workers. One way to do that? Highlight the perks your community offers, from continuous learning programs to comprehensive healthcare plans.
But there’s another way you can draw in this wave of talent…
Savvy Technology Investments Will Attract and Retain Staff
That’s right: your community can fight staffing shortages by strategically investing in senior living technology. Why? Because those solutions relieve staff workloads and limit the costs associated with overtime wages and using staffing agencies. Here’s how.
Today, plenty of communities rely on paper-based systems for recording resident attendance, documenting medication regimens, and organizing events. There’s no way to automate tasks within these physical systems, so staff members complete everything by hand. That’s not very efficient, and it doesn’t maximize your staff’s impact on residents.
Digital community engagement and communication platforms can free up staff workloads by streamlining those daily tasks, whether it’s by auto-filling contact lists for an event or empowering residents to complete their own safety or
wellness check-ins with the click of a button. This automation means staff can focus more energy on duties that require a human touch, like administering medication or leading a tai chi class.
Using engagement and communication platforms isn’t the only way to optimize your staff’s time, though. Smart home technology is another great option.
Chances are your staff regulates the environment of at least some residents’ living areas – turning off lights and turning up the heat, for example. Smart home technology takes that work off your staff’s plate and enables residents to control fans, air conditioning, or their lights with a quick voice command or tap on their mobile device.
Not only does this save staff time, but these smart home applications can also reduce energy consumption – cutting down on utility costs.
Residents Will Flock to Communities with Senior Living Technology
The same technology systems that help you attract and retain staff can also help you bring in residents. And that’s not just because prospective residents who tour your community will sense the satisfaction your staff exudes.
Older adults want to retain their independence. It’s why so many expect to see technology in their senior living communities – technology helps them maintain their lifestyle without staff help. And after a pandemic that left many older adults socially isolated, residents and their families want to make sure their community offers platforms that foster social connections.
Yes, a smart bulb means your staff doesn’t need to manually turn the lights on or off. And an engagement platform means staff can automate invites for a movie night. But these solutions also empower residents to control their surroundings and manage their social circles. That’s a huge draw, especially for residents who recently maintained their own homes.
Senior Living Technology Helps Your Community Do More with Less
The past two years in the senior living industry have been marked by decreased occupancy rates and slimmer profits. This, coupled with soaring costs and a looming recession, makes it even more important for senior living leaders to optimize their spending.
Senior living technology helps leaders accomplish this goal by automating processes, appealing to prospective residents, and helping cut unnecessary costs. And in the coming months, practical investments into technology solutions will help your community weather shifting market conditions.
A final note: in case you haven’t heard, the Caremerge Engagement business has been acquired by VoiceFriend – and is rebranding to Icon. If you’re interested in leveraging community engagement solutions to help your community stand out, check out the new Icon website for more information or