It goes without saying that our industry, our country, and our world are in uncharted waters. We are all facing new challenges in our work and maybe, even especially, outside of work. Our lives seem to have been turned upside down, and there are only guesses at how the story will unfold.
From talking with many of our families, residents, and team members, it seems that the uncertainty of what comes next is driving the thinking and decisions of so many people. Until the future becomes clearer, we expect that our lives and our company will continue to be impacted by this uncertainty.
We want to share a few of the ways Thrive Senior Living has been affected and how we are adjusting to operating in the current environment. As many of you know, due to increasing restrictions on face-to-face contact and group gatherings, we have ceased to offer activities and property tours at our communities, and we have implemented social distancing within all of our communities. Our teams have been focused on deploying virtual tours for all of our properties and finding ways to engage with potential residents without them coming to the communities. However, we are ready to serve new families and residents in this time of need and continue to serve those who live with us and entrust their loved ones to us. Now especially is an important time to innovate connection, so we are rolling out virtual family gatherings and are planning for additional virtual gatherings for residents as well.
As we see it, there are three phases ahead of us as a company and a nation:
UNCERTAINTY • RECOVERY • NEW NORMAL
The first phase is where we find ourselves and our industry right now—Uncertainty. There is going to be a period in which we don’t know if the actions we are collectively taking to stop the spread of COVID-19 are working as anticipated. There is no way to know how long this phase will last, but we are seeing some positive trends in other countries that provide assurance that our efforts to self-distance and isolate may be effective. While entirely guesswork at this point, 60–90 days seems to be the time frame that we hear most frequently.
At some point, as we have seen in other countries, the rate of new infections will slow and then stop, which will lead us to the second phase—Recovery. With evidence that the spread of COVID-19 has slowed or stopped, we should begin to see the current restrictions and CDC guidelines ease. There is no telling how long the Recovery phase will last or how quickly we can start high-fiving again (much less hugging), but we believe that having a light at the end of the tunnel will dramatically change the mood of the country and unfreeze the economy.
The final phase, which we WILL reach, is the New Normal. Just as some aspects of the economy and life were permanently changed following the Great Recession or 9/11, we suspect that the New Normal might be different than what we previously knew. In these unprecedented times, senior living is proving to be an incredibly attractive asset class to the investment community. This continued view will allow us to “do more good” for years and years to come. While hotels and multi-family have started nationwide layoffs, we are actively adding new team members.
Think for a minute how it will feel not to have hugged your closest friend for two or three or four months. Think for a minute how it will feel not to have seen your son or daughter or grandchild play in the sport they love for months on end.
Yes, in the New Normal, there will be those that turn into what we are calling “perma-hermits” and will rarely leave their homes. They will continue to stockpile 1,743 rolls of toilet paper in their attic and keep 84 pounds of ground beef in their freezers. They will be the exception. I believe, in the New Normal, America will rally to live again. In community. In our communities.
Hugs all around. Little league stands full again.
It is natural to let the unknown lead to fear, but we are a company that faces the unpredictability of the current environment calmly, wisely, and with deeply rooted hope. We want you to know that our team personally accepts the challenge of our current situation with optimism, and we are committed to navigating this uncertain period. We are convinced we will reach the New Normal as a more resilient company, ready to serve America’s older adults. It takes our entire company to make Thrive work, and we love and appreciate the communities we serve now more than ever.
Thrive Senior Living