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Preparing for Natural Disasters in Senior Living

This year – especially the last couple weeks – have been particularly rough on the United States in regards to natural disasters. From Hurricane Harvey to the impending Hurricane Irma and the wildfires that have taken hold of Montana, California, Oregon, Washington, and much of the rest of the west, it leaves us all asking a lot of questions. While there are certain policies in place designed to step in when disaster strikes, history shows this isn’t always enough and thousands – if not millions – of people are left to pick up the pieces on their own. So what does this mean for senior living? For starters, it is imperative for senior living providers to have emergency plans in place in order to ensure crises like these are handled correctly.

Planning Ahead is a Must

The number one thing to keep in mind when it comes to preparing for a natural disaster in senior living is to plan ahead. Senior residents do not have the same mobility or thought patterns to move quickly and mentally prepare for disaster to strike. With this in mind, it is imperative that senior housing facilities have well-thought out and executed safety plans in place. Take Houston, for example. Over the last several years numerous senior housing providers have turned to Houston to establish assisted living and skilled nursing communities. In fact, the city is one of seven additional metro areas accounting for roughly a third of all senior housing inventory growth. We are unsure at this moment how these facilities will bounce back from Harvey, but one thing is for certain: you can never plan too much.

Training your staff, having adequate staff on call, and remaining in constant contact with emergency responders, internal staff, and residents are all imperative to how successfully you will ride out a natural disaster like a hurricane. It is also important for senior housing facilities to have a backup plan in place. Whether this means a different memory care facility in another part of town or a sister community elsewhere, having somewhere your residents can go to feel safe and protected in the wake of such events as we are experiencing right now is a must. We encourage all senior living providers to meet with their staff and community to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to emergency situations. We send our good thoughts to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey and the fires engulfing the west.

If you have questions about senior housing investment opportunities, please contact Shep Roylance of The JCH Group today.

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