By Steve Moran

National Investment Center for Seniors Housing (NIC) just released their quarterly occupancy report. And, while the numbers are not back to pre-pandemic levels, it is all good news.

The highlights:

  • Overall senior living occupancy increased 0.9% to 81.4%.
  • This is the fourth consecutive quarter of growth and up 3.4% from the pandemic low of 78%.
  • Assisted living occupancy increased 1.1% to 78.8%.
  • Independent living occupancy increased 0.7% to 83.9%.
  • Nursing care occupancy increased 0.9% to 78.5%.
  • Looking at the NIC MAP primary markets, annual rental rates increased 4.6% in assisted living and 3.0% in independent living. 

Demand Vs. Supply

According to NIC, “demand continues to outweigh supply, driving occupancy upward.” There continues to be a significant slowdown in new inventory growth.

“Rising materials prices, high inflation, construction industry labor shortages, and the Federal Reserve’s policy change toward higher interest rates are collectively stalling new constructions,” said Beth Burnham Mace, NIC’s chief economist. “This will likely continue the trend of low to moderate levels of new inventory, which should help boost occupancy.”

What It Means

It is simply good news. It means that people see the need for and value in senior living. While it is easy to focus on the numbers, most important is that senior living is improving the lives of more families. It also means we are employing more people, which means they can do the things they need to do and want to do with their lives and their families.

We spend a lot of time thinking about what is wrong with senior living, and in a sense, this is fair. Because asking what we can do better does make us better. But it is also possible that we are at times too hard on ourselves and our industry, in a way that limits our ability to make the world for older people and team members better.

This is a profound reminder of the way were are making the world a better place, and we can use these numbers to ask ourselves, what else can we do to help more people see how great we are?