The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted nearly everyone and somehow touched every aspect of the world in which we live. It will change many aspects of the senior housing industry, including not only the prospects for new development but the design and functionality of new senior living communities. While the ramifications both short and long term are still unclear, the pandemic will not change the vast wave of baby boomers who will provide steady demand growth for senior housing for several years beginning in 2022.
Most experts within the senior living industry continue to express optimism about the long term prospects for senior housing, and particularly the assisted living, memory care, independent living and active adult segments, all of which have experienced significantly fewer cases of Covid-19 than have been realized in skilled nursing communities.
As we begin to look to the future, it seems inevitable that Covid-19 will have a lasting impact on how senior living communities are designed and built. Many architects and design experts have already begun to think about social distancing, personal protection, and flexible lobby zones. It is also clear that technology will play an even more critical role in future senior living designs.
Virtual visitation technologies will likely be expanded. Disinfecting procedures will be an area of focus, and UV lighting has shown to be effective with viruses. UV technology can be used to disinfect interior spaces, but can also be incorporated into air filtration systems. The use of more anti-bacteria surfaces, smart controls, and touchless operations provide significant opportunities to help control the spread of germs. With touchless faucets and motion-activated toilet flushing, towel dispensing, and light activation, the amount of touching, flipping, and pressing can be significantly reduced, therefore reducing the chance of contact spreading.
Designing resident units that allow access to trash pickup, medicine storage, and plumbing shutoff valves from the corridor without actually entering the residents unit along with the use of robot vacuum cleaners and automatic food preparation robots are all considerations to help minimize the spread of germs.
When designed and deployed effectively, these solutions offer the potential to help control the spread of disease. The Douglas Company is excited about the opportunity to work with our clients and their design teams to design and build post-COVID-19 senior living communities.
Director of Business Development
The Douglas Company
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