NIC Senior Principle Lana Peck

Long-term care operators’ optimism about the recent rise in occupancy levels is completely “justified” following continued improvements, according to the latest data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. 

NIC’s latest executive survey revealed that 65% of nursing care operators reported increases in occupancy when compared to the month prior, while 26% of operators reported a decrease. Nine percent said their occupancy didn’t change between months. 

The results suggested that “cautious optimism may be justified as occupancy rates appear to have reached their low points around the end of March and are gradually improving for many operators of seniors housing and care properties across the nation,” according to NIC Senior Principal Lana Peck. 

The executive survey features responses from 75 senior housing and skilled nursing operators, with responses collected between May 17 and June 13. 

Survey findings come just weeks after the latest NIC MAP Data revealed that skilled nursing occupancy climbed for a second straight month in March, reaching 71.6%. That’s a notable jump after the industry reported a record low occupancy of 70.7% in January.

“Of note, more than a third of organizations with assisted living residences and nearly one-half with nursing care beds saw occupancy increases of three percentage points or more,” Peck added. “Amidst this good news, seniors housing and care occupancy rates remain at historic lows, and the number one challenge currently facing operators is attracting community/caregiving staff.”