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Guiding Senior Living Facilities Through the Now, Near and Far of COVID-19

Guiding Senior Living Facilities Through the Now, Near and Far of COVID-19 Banner Image

It has been 50 years since Grover’s “NEAR and FAR” skit first aired on PBS with Jim Henson as the voice of Grover. The skit is a classic sesame street routine that involves Grover running back and forth demonstrating the difference between “near” and “far.”

Jim Hackett’s “now, near and far” concept most likely isn’t an adaption of the skit but his idea resonated with me. As the President and CEO of Ford Motor Company, his basic premise is that organizations need to act simultaneously on three-time frames: Now, Near and Far.

How does this apply to Senior Care?

NOW: The main goal is to protect residents and staff from illness and provide food, care and support during overwhelming times. An overall goal is to successfully stabilize allowing the opportunity to “lift your gaze” to the NEAR and the FAR aspects of your facilities. 

NEAR: Over the past few weeks some of our client’s organizations have begun to look beyond the NOW. Thoughts are turning to rethinking design, controls and processes to bolster infection control. (for COVID-19 but also for instances such as the annual fall flu) Experts are also rethinking technology and ways residents can stay connected to loved ones through the current and any future crisis.

The pivot is grounded in the fact that 2 of every 3 senior living properties were constructed before the year 2000. Twenty-year-old facilities are due for renovations and the COVID-19 crisis brought this to the forefront. 

However, there are opportunities. A recent NIC Executive Survey indicated that this might be an opportunity to mitigate the labor shortfall within the industry. Senior Living Executives shared that 41% expected NO CHANGE in their development pipeline. 25% saw a decrease and 18% felt they would INCREASE their project pipeline.

FAR: There is no stopping the silver tsunami and the need for facilities. The Census Bureau estimates that 1 of 5 Americans will be retirement age in 2030. Time does not stand still, and care solutions will need to be provided. It is impossible to predict the future, but one thing is certain: tomorrow’s senior living design approaches will be significantly altered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are helping our clients to continue operations in the “now” while we work to give them options for the “near” and the “far”. What steps are you making to ensure safety for your residents and staff in the now? When this pandemic subsides, how do you see your senior living facility changing for the near and far? Send me a private message or email, I would love to talk through your organization’s design solutions.