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Dr. Bill Thomas – How COVID-19 Will Change Assisted Living (podcast interview)

The landscape of American businesses and the assisted living industry will have to adapt to unforeseen changes following the pandemic. Experts have been closely monitoring the lasting impact that coronavirus will have one the assisted living sector. Dr. Bill Thomas is an author, entrepreneur, musician, teacher, farmer and physician whose wide-ranging work explores the terrain of human aging. Best known for his health care system innovations, he is the founder of a global non-profit, The Eden Alternative, which works to improve the care provided to older people. According to Dr. Thomas, the senior care industry’s initial response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been exceptional and inspiring. Unfortunately, each phase of the COVID-19 response will become more taxing on the big-box assisted living facilities. However, the market for smaller residential assisted living homes is likely to receive a boost as this sector offers much more protection against the spread of communicable diseases and viruses.  

As a result of this unimaginable taxing of resources on the big-box facilities, the landscape of senior housing will forever change in fundamental ways, based on Dr. Thomas’ observation. Protecting residents and supplying the necessary equipment to caregivers is the current priority. Although, this crisis will be like flipping the board game and having to reset all the pieces. Dr. Thomas says owners and operators will have to figure out how to reset up the pieces. 

Will there be new players, new assumptions and a new landscape in the residential assisted living game after COVID-19?

What Will Happen To Assisted Living After Covid-19?

The next phase will have to address issues related to admissions, transfers and the difficulties that the pandemic has placed on staffers. Residential assisted living homes will also have to recreate environments that prevent the spread of viral transmissions.  How do we change our practices and our processes so that viruses can’t spread easily inside residential assisted living homes? Dr. Thomas used his recent podcast to promote this transformation based on technology sponsored by PointClickCare. He has a notable and proven track record of recognizing innovation in the long-term care industry. 

Highlights Of Thomas’ Podcast Interview Are Below:

  • The effects of Covid-19 amongst senior housing residents: Medical and clinical issues, aggravating, loneliness, helplessness and boredom.
  • The era of video and digital technology: Telehealth/telemedicine is no longer on the sidelines of senior living – it is upfront and here to stay. 

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed assisted living owners, operators and staff to pressures facing the industry. However, none of these pressures reflect on loss of employment. There’s going to be millions of people all eager to work in senior living. Ultimately, unlike individuals working in the food service industry, out of work and unable to essential bills, assisted living remains fully operational. This is one of the reasons why the assisted living sector is so attractive to investors. Regardless of the market or what is going on in the world, seniors will still always need a place to live and competent, high quality care. Dr. Thomas doesn’t see any oncoming problems staffing senior living homes. What are some projected problems that residential assisted living will have to face?

Post-pandemic Senior Housing 

Assisted living will have to deal with the structural problem of refining the occupational role of caregivers during crises situations. The post-assessment of this pandemic will produce a lot of headlines that will reflect poorly on the industry. 

These headlines will be the result of the virus spreading throughout assisted living homes and the number of deaths amongst the most frail people in our society. A process of educating the public that not all assisted living is created the same may be needed to change the equation. Assisted living homes will need to increase the quality of care and redefine the narrative of what it means to keep seniors safe from communal-spread diseases. While this process is already underway for many, each step will need to be accelerated to insure the safety of seniors amid media scrutiny. 

What Will Potentially Accelerate For Senior Care

  • Home health care services 
  • More distributed community-based models 
  • Less connection between the health care system and the home. 
  • Health and home are going to be interestingly blended in new and different ways. 
  • Strengthening the role of senior housing with the health care system
  • The leisure aspirational retirement lifestyle vision of senior housing might be eclipsed by a vision of health and wellness. 

Those are all trends that were underway prior to the virus, and will likely accelerate post-pandemic. Assisted living housing is going to have to learn how to blend both the necessity of health care and telehealth with the important additional dimensions that are really rooted in wellbeing.

The Assisted Living Model Already Rooted In Well-being

Family members don’t stop thinking about their loved ones during difficult times, in fact, they become more concerned. Seniors will always need a safe and comfortable place to live during their twilight years. Now, more than ever, seniors and their family members are starting to recognize the value in residential assisted living homes over the traditional big-box facilities and nursing homes. The investment opportunity in RAL has never been greater and with the incoming silver tsunami of baby boomers the potential for larger investment will only continue to grow. Are you wondering how you can get started investing in this booming industry?

Gene Guarino is an American businessman and author. His newest book is titled, Blueprint, How To Start a Residential Assisted Living Business. RALA is an assisted living education company that teaches everything from A-Z about meeting the rising demand for senior housing. Guarino’s 3-day accelerated RAL course empowers students to achieve true financial independence. During the course, instructors use an interactive live training approach with physical RAL home tours to teach students how to gain the most success. 

Visit www.RALAcademy.com to learn more and register now. For additional information about how residential assisted living fits into the greater scheme of the industry read: Big-Box Senior Living vs. Residential Assisted Living Homes…What’s the Difference?