Fewer people are choosing to live in senior housing amid the pandemic. Occupancy has gone down more than 2.5% for two quarters in a row.
A trade group for housing providers looked at numbers from April through September of this year and found the senior housing sector is experiencing the largest drop in occupancy on record.
“We have heard from people who, you know, their first priority is to get older parents out of more hazardous locations, such as nursing homes, and when they are looking for options in terms of where to move them, part of the option of course is to bring them into their home,” said Danielle Arigoni, Director of AARP Livable Communities.
Arigoni says the financial benefits of living in a multi-generational home are getting some people to think about it during the pandemic. But others are avoiding it because of concerns about COVID-19 exposure risks for older family members.
Arigoni says there is a renewed interest in accessory dwelling units. That's something UMH Properties is working on now with its "care cottages." The service will let people lease a prefabricated 1 bedroom 1 bath temporary home that you put on your property.
“We believe we can get it approved because it's going to be temporary. It's going to be ADA compliant. And with those things in mind, the zoning department of a town should approve bringing the manufactured home onto somebody's lot where it's zoned as a single-family residential lot,” said Sam Landy, CEO of UMH Properties.
Landy says COVID-19 sparked the idea for the “care cottages,” but he expects there to be interest in them beyond the pandemic.
The company has received dozens of people asking about the care cottages since it started marketing them in September.
If you have older family members moving into your home instead, AARP recommends having certain parameters around chores and expectations. Privacy can be a concern for an older adult who has lived alone for a long time. You also need to prepare your home for things like trip hazards.