The occupancy rate at the nation’s largest senior living provider fell further in November. And, occupancy declines are not unique to Brookdale, as Covid-19 outbreaks spiked across the country.
Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) on Tuesday reported that its average occupancy rate was 73.1% at the end of November, with a weighted average of 72.8% for the month. Brookdale’s third-quarter occupancy rate was 74%.
The latest numbers reflect a 910 basis point drop from the end of March, when Brookdale’s occupancy rate was 82.2%.
As of Nov. 30, 89% of the Brentwood, Tennessee-based company’s 726 communities were open for new resident move-ins, according to its latest monthly disclosure. Brookdale said it expects to publish monthly occupancy reports until it returns to providing financial guidance, which it suspended earlier this year in March.
New Covid-19 cases have surged across the U.S. in recent weeks, and the latest data from across the industry reflects an impact on occupancy.
More than half (54%) of providers who responded to the latest executive survey from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) said assisted living occupancy rates had declined between Nov. 9 and Nov. 22. Another 31% of providers reported no change in assisted living occupancy during that period, while just 15% said they gained occupancy.
Among memory care providers, 42% said they shed occupancy during that time, while 33% reported no change and 25% reported occupancy gains. The declines were the least steep for independent living, with 28% of providers reporting occupancy declines. Another 55% reported no change in independent living occupancy for the period, while 17% said independent living occupancy increased.
Overall, quarterly occupancy was at 82.1% for Q3 2020, according to NIC data.
The good news for providers is that a Covid-19 vaccine could be imminent, although it remains to be seen how quickly occupancy will start to rebound once a vaccine is widely available. A recent Scotiabank report cautioned that recovery might not be palpable until well into 2021. But, some senior living executives are more optimistic, while acknowledging that near-term conditions will remain difficult.