News & Press Releases

Occupancy at U.S. Senior Housing Properties Drops as COVID-19 Effects Continue

May figures from the NIC MAP® Data Service show greater impact on assisted living compared with independent living


ANNAPOLIS (June 16, 2020)—Assisted living properties experienced a 0.9 percentage point decline to 85.2 percent stabilized occupancy in May 2020 in the nation’s largest 31 metropolitan areas. This compares with 86.1 percent in April and 87.8 percent in March, the first full month of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact was less severe for independent living properties, which experienced a 0.6 percentage point decrease to 89.5 percent in May, down from 90.1 percent in April and 91.4 percent in March.

The data come from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care’s NIC MAP® Data Service. The data are featured in NIC’s Intra-Quarterly Snapshot, a monthly publication developed to increase transparency about senior housing and care during an unprecedented time for the sector, due to the effects of COVID-19.

“The data showing declines in occupancy at assisted living properties validates what property operators have said about the impact of COVID-19 on the senior housing sector,” said Beth Burnham Mace, NIC’s chief economist. “Assisted living residents tend to be frailer than independent living residents and often have multiple chronic diseases. Their need for more care means greater risk of complications from COVID-19.”

The change in occupancy in May was less than the previous month in both independent and assisted living facilities, suggesting occupancy declines may be stabilizing.

“It’s too soon to predict whether senior housing occupancy will steady in the months ahead, but it’s a critical piece of information to monitor closely,” said Brian Jurutka, NIC’s president and CEO. “Occupancy shifts are key indicators for property operators to guide informed decisions about residency and current and future staffing needs.”

The increased frequency of NIC MAP® data reporting is part of NIC’s commitment to data transparency, allowing stakeholders to better protect residents and caregivers by helping properties, states and communities analyze the impact of COVID-19 and provide resources to those most in need.

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