11/22/2021 - Cameron Lang
It’s been a heck of a couple of years, but there are still many things to be thankful for.
Even in the worst of times, there are always silver linings.
So, let’s talk about them…
Usually, the development for vaccines is a long, complex process, often lasting 10-15 years before being approved.1
The COVID-19 vaccine was developed one year after the first case was identified (Dec. 2020), and experimental trials for the vaccine didn’t begin until mid-March 2020.
After the COVID-19 vaccine, the next fastest vaccine to be approved was for mumps in the 1960s, and that took four years!2
What if there was still no COVID vaccine? What would the world be like right now?
These are questions that we should be thankful we don’t know the answers to, especially knowing the impacts COVID has on the elderly.
The senior living industry would still likely be shut down to outside visitors and we likely would’ve lost more loved ones.
So, let’s be thankful that scientists and researchers got the job done at record pace.
Senior Living Employees
We’re all well aware of the labor shortage our economy is facing currently.
As we talked about in a previous article, the working age population stopped growing in comparison to the amount of job openings.
Wage growth has also lagged in comparison to inflation, encouraging employees to apply for unemployment, creating turnover.3
When employee turnover is high, the quality of care diminishes leaving other team members to pick up additional duties to meet care needs.
Constant turnover negatively impacts the morale and engagement levels at a community, perpetuating the problem.
People are genuinely happier when they work alongside people they know.
So, what’s there to be thankful for in this situation?
The people who stayed.
Senior living employees could have stayed home or tried to find jobs in a less restrictive environment (due to high-risk residents).
The employees who stayed made it possible for residents to remain sheltered and safe.
So, here’s to the employees who stay at our communities and show up engaged each and every day!
COVID-19 changed the way senior living facilities will operate forever.
Some communities were not prepared or did not act early enough to abate the pandemic’s effects. But that is not the case for all.
San Francisco Center for Jewish Life, or SFCJL, was one of the first communities in California to start screening visitors before they entered the premises.4
They stocked up on protective equipment, handed out masks to every resident and staff member, and had a stay-at-home mandate earlier than the rest of the country which resulted in low infection rates.
SFCJL also opened a new wing that accepts patients from local hospitals who are recovering from COVID and need short-term rehab before returning to their home.
Technology also became a huge part of seniors’ lives.
Earlier this year, we wrote an article about loneliness and how 43% of seniors experience it on a regular basis (before COVID).
Loneliness is linked to a higher risk of physical and mental conditions. Seniors are using apps to combat loneliness, such as:
Before COVID, about 50% of seniors had never used video chat. Now, over 70% of seniors use it.
Use in wearable devices increased by 10%.
Weekly use of streaming entertainment increased by 14%.
Seniors are connected now more than ever, and that’s something that many of their family members are thankful for as they get to connect virtually with their loved ones more often.
It’s been a tough couple of years for the senior living community. But, like everything in life, there are always lessons to be learned and reasons to be thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving from FullCount to you and yours!
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