Think back for a moment. What was life like before another massive change? Take your pick, because you’ve lived through more than a few. This is of course, not the identical category of a global pandemic…but take a moment to recall.
What happened? There were major events and massive changes. Many things changed after each of these times.
Take 9/11. After the attacks, airports never returned to their former glory. Security measures became the norm. Color-coded alert levels became part of everyday reality. Passengers became more suspicious of fellow travelers. Personnel became wary about packages and suitcases. We got used to taking off shoes, belts, and metal to make it through security.
In the wake of 9/11, our culture changed. Perhaps we feel safer. Perhaps we are more alert. Or maybe we’ve just gotten used to living with a higher level of caution.
However you view it, things changed. The old culture, habits, and way of life did not return. Our world evolved.
Join us as we take a look at the trends of senior living during the pandemic, including the lasting effect of the pandemic on senior housing.
Trend watchers around the world are asking questions, looking for evidence, and trying to make predictions based on evidence.
It’s really more about asking questions, isn’t it? It may be a bit too early for answers. So, let’s look at the big questions that come to mind.
In many ways, this experience affects us along some of the major lines of living. Let’s look at some of the effects of the pandemic on senior living.
Will we start to grow our own food? Will community gardens, chicken coops, and farm-to-home services increase? Will we have greater interest and find new ways to support local farmers?
Will we get serious about improving and monitoring water quality across America? Will we foster water testing to ensure safety and purity standards?
Will we shift our habits of getting together for a drink? Will wineries offer bottle pick-up and delivery services? Will they offer take-and-bake dinners of wine and food? Will they offer virtual tasting rooms? Will wineries offer safe-distance picnic spots for rent? Will pubs offer tasting menus for home delivery?
There has been a profound effect of the pandemic in senior housing in the United States. It has led to a sharp increase in evictions and foreclosures, as well as a decrease in new home construction. The pandemic has also exacerbated the already severe shortage of affordable housing.
Moving forward, we will have to evaluate where we will live differently. You need to think carefully if living in a city is better than living somewhere remote. You may also consider living with family to lower housing costs and make it more affordable for everyone in the home.
The pandemic hit senior living facilities hard. With residents often being more vulnerable to the disease, many nursing homes and assisted living facilities were forced to close their doors to visitors in an effort to prevent an outbreak.
Will we look for upgrades to retirement facilities—such as robotic care, purity standards and in-house medical care? Will we demand improvements to protect our safety? Or will we ditch social distancing as soon as possible?
The pandemic has forced many seniors in the US to stay home and limit their activities. This has led to a trend in senior living during the pandemic for at-home entertainment options such as streaming services, online gaming, and social media. It has also created opportunities for new businesses catering to the needs of seniors.
With the ease of restrictions, however, many entertainment venues, including museums, amusement parks, and movie theaters have once again opened their doors to welcome back seniors in droves.
It’s no secret that seniors in the US enjoy traveling. Sadly, the travel industry was the most heavily impacted by the pandemic. Many have had to cancel or postpone trips, and some have even been stranded abroad. The pandemic has also made it more difficult to find affordable travel insurance that covers pandemics. As a result, seniors are likely to be more cautious about traveling in the future.
Traveling has also become more expensive as a result of years of lost business, making travel almost unaffordable for many seniors.
The pandemic also had a major impact on the clothing industry, with many stores forced to close and consumers cutting back on spending. This hit seniors particularly hard, as they are more likely to rely on clothing retailers for their wardrobe needs. While some seniors were able to find new ways to shop for clothes online or through social media, others struggled to keep up with the changing fashion trends. The pandemic also exposed the lack of diversity in the fashion industry, as many designers and brands failed to meet the needs of older and plus-size customers.
Will the current trend of baking-like-our-lives-depend-on-it continue? Will we always be faced with shortages of eggs and flour? Will everyone ditch flour and realize that gluten-free is more than just an edgy idea for health food fanatics—but actually a way to truly reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and minimize inflammation?
Many gyms were closed or have shut down completely due to the pandemic. In its wake, outdoor physical activity classes have gained popularity. There are more yoga and Zumba classes held in parks and other outdoor areas. Virtual classes have also become the norm, making fitness more accessible than ever to older adults.
Because of the pandemic, online services have become more popular than ever. Almost everything can be delivered right to your doorstep. Food, groceries, medicine, clothing, appliances, furniture… you name it, there’s a delivery service for it.
A lifestyle tip for seniors to take note of is to have all these apps installed on your phones or smart gadgets so you always have access to a reliable delivery service, should you ever need it.
The pandemic has had a monumental effect on senior living in the United States. In addition to the human toll of illness and death, the pandemic has resulted in significant changes to the way senior living communities operate.
Even if the US has pretty much returned to Business As Usual, many of the effects of the pandemic will linger on for years to come. In fact, it may be safe to say that the pandemic has left lasting changes in the way seniors will live moving forward.
If you need help navigating this post-pandemic world, check out our articles on Senior Assistance Club.