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Senior living facilities deal with COVID-19 in creative ways [Podcast]

This episode of the Boelter wire interviews Shelly Sievert, Boelter’s Director of Business Development. Shelly and William Braun, Boelter's content manager have a timely conversation about the effects of the COVID-19 virus and how it has dramatically changed the kitchen and dining landscape of senior living communities across the country. They discuss the adjustments both the residents and administrators have had to make, as well as consider what the future may look like for these essential communities.



Want to see what we can do for you and your senior living facility? Get in touch. Or hear Shelly's previous podcast episodes on senior living: Dining room efficiencies and Managing dining room waste.

Have a topic you'd like us to discuss? Send us your ideas at marketing@boelter.com!


William Braun: Good morning. Shelly. Thanks for joining me on another episode of the Boelter Wire. How are you today?

Shelly Sievert: I am doing fine. Sitting at my house like everybody else in the world. How are you doing today?

I'm doing okay. We're surviving, right? We're recording this podcast of the Boelter Wire on Tuesday, April 7th, 2020. Obviously due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, we're several weeks into social distancing, quarantine, all those issues that have come into play. You and I are practicing social distancing by trying to do this podcast remotely. We had a few technical issues. Hopefully we can get through those. This is something that we're all facing right now and it's, normally we'd be having this discussion face to face,  it's just not a safe and smart thing to do right now. So, it just, it feels like so much has happened in a very short amount of time, but because we've been doing this social distancing and this quarantine for several weeks now, I mean, how are you holding up? What, what changes have you had to make to your daily routine?

Shelly: So, first of all, yesterday I read that  we are now going into week four of social distancing.  I myself am a very outgoing people loving person. So being at home pretty much nonstop for over three weeks and now into the fourth week for me, it feels like it's been forever, that we have been like required to be safer at home. For me personally, in my role in business development for Boelter, I have the pleasure of being out and about talking with customers face to face. In senior living, I get to go into both corporate buildings and into individual communities themselves, and with the population of the seniors being the most susceptible to something like COVID-19 and the most vulnerable, I haven't been able to do that for now it's been over four weeks since I've been in a customer's corporate office or a customer's community. Not being able to see people face to face and get to know them in their communities in that way, that's been the biggest change and the hardest challenge for me.

From both a work perspective a personal perspective many people are struggling just because of those things that you brought up. For me, it hasn't been too big of an issue, I'm not totally outgoing, I've always been more of an introvert. Staying at home, working from home, you know, I've still got my family, we do things after work. We try and keep ourselves occupied and busy. I can see how this is really affecting a lot of people across the country, really across the world right now because this is so far reaching. That's what we're talking about today where obviously you've got your finger on the pulse of  the senior living and assisted living communities. How is this coronavirus and this pandemic affecting those communities, what are some of your initial thoughts? Regardless of it's the coronavirus or severe season of the flu or whatever the case may be, it's, it always seems like the senior living and assisted living communities are always going to be the hardest hit. I think I know the reason for that, but what are your thoughts around that? Why do you think that they are usually the ones to react the quickest and a lot of the times are the most impacted by this?

Shelly: Let's start with the most impacted by this. When you're looking at the average age of somebody in a senior living community, if you go the full continuum of care, which starts with independent living and go all the way through skilled nursing, you're looking at the average age of somewhere around 83, and that's give or take a few years, but we're going to say at least 80 years old. So as human beings, as you just think of those who are 80, we have a lot of things already that are starting to happen in our bodies, like our bodies are starting to break down. Our immune systems have been keeping us healthy for 80 years. They're starting to wear out. There's a lot of people who have co-morbidities and what that means is they, maybe they have diabetes and they've got congestive heart failure, or they have some other kind of a chronic disease, maybe high blood pressure or those types of things.

Pre-existing things.

Shelly: Exactly. All of those things make our immune systems have to work harder. Then on top of that, you're in a setting where you have sometimes over a hundred people living in the same area. Now granted these areas, these communities are spaced out. Everybody has enough space for them to live in. But you're living in a big huge community where people are typically dining at least two or potentially three times a day together. So, you have a lot of people interacting that way. You've got your activities where people are going to be interacting that way. You have your times that they go transporting, they're transported out to go grocery shopping or maybe to a Walgreen's or to a Walmart or something like that. They're going to be in a small like shuttle bus. So that’s more together time.

And on top of that, you've got a caregiver who's going to be going from apartment to apartment. Even with washing their hands and doing all of the required, hygiene things, there's still potentially going to be taking one thing from one resident into another. So that's where you see that impact can be so high. When you think about senior living, you'd also asked how, how can they react so quickly? So, something like the coronavirus is not new to senior living. Senior living in the, on the whole they have to look at things norovirus, C-Diff, MRSA, just influenza, all of these different types of, of um, viruses can cause an outbreak. They are prepared for an outbreak. So typically in a senior living community, when someone is diagnosed with any of those viruses or others that I mentioned, what will happen is they'll shut down the wing and they will isolate the resident that is sick and they potentially will shut down the wing so that no one can come and go from the wing without the proper precautions.

So that's what they're typically used to doing. The difference with coronavirus is just the sheer magnitude of it. So normally one community may have one wing closed down for a certain amount of time. Now you're seeing every community having every wing shut down for an undetermined amount of time. And that's why you're seeing this impact senior living in a different way. Does that make sense?

It does, it's a scary thing. I've told you on a couple of occasions about my mother living in a senior living facility here locally. Obviously I've been in fairly constant contact with her just to see how she's doing, how she's holding up because she is alone. My father passed away many years ago, up until recently, the last couple of years, my mother was taking care of my grandmother who lived to be 105 years old, my grandmother passed alone. So now it's just my mother. She's very happy at the place where she's living, it's still a scary thing.  When I spoke to her initially, probably going back to early February and her community was already taking those steps. They were already essentially closing down the facility. No non-essential guests could come in. They were starting to shut down or severely reduce the hours and the dining room, requesting people try and stay in the rooms more often than not and all the activities, the knitting activities and they’ve got an in house theater, they're shutting that down. Just starting that process very early on, probably because of all the reasons that you just listed. They need to be taking those precautions quickly and monitoring what's going on. Over the last several weeks, everything has escalated throughout the country. So, it's a scary thought.

My mother's been holding up quite well other than being kind of down in the dumps about not being able visit her grandchildren. Thankfully with technology we can do FaceTime, we can do emails, texting, and she's pretty much up to date on all of that technology. So, it's been working out. Last time I spoke to her, no one in her community has taken ill, at least from this virus. So that's positive. It's got to be pretty devastating on a community like that. And for the people that run those communities, trying to monitor that and trying to limit the spread of a potential outbreak within those walls, that's going to be a pretty difficult thing to take care of.

Shelly: To all of the operators and, excuse me, especially the frontline caregivers, thank you for the work that you're doing. It is vital. It is necessary. It is important work that they are doing. And I can't begin to imagine the stress that these communities are going through because of the fact that all communities care very deeply for their residents and for their staff. And now to add all of the stress of what's happening with coronavirus and also the stress of the family members not being able to see their loved ones. It's all I can say is my heart goes out to everybody that is on the front lines for senior living. And thank you for that work that they're doing.

Yeah. Let's hope we start to see a turnaround in the near future, I'm certainly ready for it. I'm sure you are too. And I'm sure pretty much everyone in the country is ready for some good news. Obviously with Boelter we're, we're thinking about their dining, their kitchen areas. So, in a situation like this, what are some of the immediate and long-term adjustments that both the kitchen and the dining areas need to make in a crisis like the coronavirus? What have you been hearing recently? What are some of the updates that they've been taking to manage this this entire time?

Shelly: It's interesting because I do have the opportunity to talk with customers that are throughout the United States. So, for on the whole, most communities have put an end to communal dining and communal dining, and I should say all assisted living, memory. I'll pause on memory care because I'll get back to that in a second. But all of assisted living and senior or skilled nursing buildings, all of those buildings had to stop communal dining. In fact, their residents are encouraged to stay within their own rooms or apartments. So that means that now instead of having breakfast, lunch and dinner, or at least lunch and dinner be together as a big group where you've got all the social hours and you get to see people and interact with people. Now they are having their meals delivered to them at their rooms. So that's a pretty significant change.

In independent living, I've heard a couple of different things. I've heard some communities have closed down all of their communal dining rooms and in independent living, a lot of times those residents, they do one meal a day and very often those meals are taken at a place that is more like a restaurant. So, at those communities, some have opted to close down their restaurant dining rooms or the restaurant style dining rooms and say they will not offer any dining like that. And the residents are then delivered at least one meal to their homes. Some independent livings have also taken the stance that if people want to come to the dining room, they have distanced tables from each other to be at least six feet away from each other. And they're not allowing residents to dine together unless they also live together.

So, in a typical independent living dining room, let's just say they can seat 48 people at any given time, and they are following the traditional ADA regulations for the distance between the tables. Now maybe because you can't have more than sometimes one-person dining at a table, and you have to give them more distance. Now maybe instead of being able to feed 48 people at one time, they can really only feed 16 and maybe only two of those tables have more than one person at it because the husband and wife lived together. So, with that being said, that's not as common as just saying no communal dining. The biggest challenge in independent living is those residents, they are still independent. Many of them still drive. Many of them have moved into these buildings more for the lifestyle than for the needs. Somebody who lives in assisted living probably is going to have a lot more needs than somebody in independent living. For instance, they may need help with dressing or maybe they need help with transferring because they're in a wheelchair or they have to use a walker. Then maybe they need help with bathing. In independent living that's not necessarily the case at all. So now you're having people who are adults, people who live independently like your family does, Bill or I do, and you're asking them to please, please, please stay  in their apartments. But you can't force them to do that. So, if they want to leave the residence, you have to let them leave. But they are trying to put in as many regulations as they can to not letting those, the residents leave.

Yeah, that's one thing that my mother also told me in the first couple of days  where she stays. She's very independent. So, I think a lot of the people in your community are also in more of an independent living situation. And I don't know if it was just a situation that they, the, the people that were living there didn’t quite fully understand or grasp what was happening, a lot of the initial steps that the people running the community were taking such as, they've got like a little bistro area and they've got, three or four tables that typically would have, four chairs around it. Well they try to promote social distancing, they removed the majority of the chairs and had only one chair per table. Well what a lot of the residents were doing because they were so used to their daily routine, they're getting their cup of coffee, they like to sit there and have a conversation with their friends. They would just take those chairs and move them around a single table. I don't know if it was a situation that they weren't understanding what was happening or maybe they just, this is just what they're used to and well, it’s for their coffee and they're going to have some fun with their neighbors.


Shelly: When I think about it, if I think about the fact that I'm in my early forties how would I react if I was going through the exact same thing and I was living in an independent living and I was in my early eighties? Hmm. Well I think they were looking at life differently and you know, I think that it's, I think every person is going to have a different story and every resident is going to have a different reason as to why they don't. Maybe the rest of the world is on lockdown and they will still go and have coffee with their best friend who lives three apartments down. I don't know. But these are the things that you have to consider. So, it really does put an operator into some potential tuff situations.

So, I know that you and I can laugh about it and think about it. Okay. What if we were like 80, 85 right? Or maybe even in our 90s. So, you said your grandma lived to 105. I think what you have to look at with the operators is not only keeping the residents safe, keeping the residents in some ways safe from themselves, which I think is what every organization out there is trying to do is to keep us safe from ourselves, but at the same time be able to honor their wishes because they are independent or, it doesn't matter, they're still adults, and then at the same time also be able to communicate to the family what they're doing to protect their loved ones. So, there's a lot of different factors, which is I think you see a lot of independent livings or a lot of communities like your mom's or some of the other ones that I've talked to. Just decide that they're going to close down the dining rooms. So, if, if a resident in apartment 301 and a resident and apartment 305 are best friends and one goes to the other's apartment for coffee, that's one thing. I can't see a facility trying to stop that. But if you stop them from being able to meet in a common space, at least then you're showing, okay, we are trying to help them do some social distancing. I think that's why you've seen that. I know a number of buildings that have just gone to all meal delivery and they're doing all to-go’s because of this exact situation.

Yeah what are some of these communities and facilities are doing,  if you're in a situation where they've completely shut down the dining area. And, and I think as some of these probably, uh, residents that live there that might potentially rely on, uh, or maybe I shouldn’t say rely, but are used to going to the dining area two and maybe even three times a day for their primary meals. Now, if you've completely taken that out of the equation, the dining room was shut down. What are some of these communities doing to accommodate for that switch over from dining in the dining room to in-room delivery? I mean, that's gotta be a, a pretty significant adjustment.

Shelly: One of the things that senior living, if it's not, if they're not known for outside of the industry, they're definitely known for it inside of the industry. And that's that they're extremely creative and when it comes to taking care of their residents, they're extremely quick moving. So, some communities have decided to minimize if, if a resident has been exposed to COVID-19 or is a carrier of COVID-19, and maybe not showing symptoms or that type of thing, in order to expose their caregivers, both the ones that are delivering the food and or picking it up, or the ones that are down in the kitchen who are washing dishes. They've decided to go to all disposables. So now they are delivering the food much as they would still deliver the food on a regular basis. But now it's all into go containers. So, you'll see a lot more Styrofoam. Um, pretty much they're using whatever they have access to. So that's the first thing is that a lot of them have gone to disposables.

Shelly Quote Senior Living is creative

Another thing that I've seen become more popular is a number of communities are pulling out their meal delivery that they may only use for people who when they're sick and they have to take their meals in their rooms, just because they don't feel good they don't want to come out. And a meal delivery system, typically we will consist of a tray with an insulated dome and an insulated base that you put a china plate on it and the food then is delivered. And hot food is hot and cold food is cold and that's delivered in a cart and it's delivered to the rooms, much like room service would be. The good thing about doing something like that is that you're still giving residents that feeling of eating off of china, of eating a meal, how they normally would eat it, maybe not in the same setting but off of the same type of place setting.

The fear with that though is that when they go to pick it up, are they going to suffer from cross contamination? So that's when it comes down to making sure that all of the caregivers or the people who are delivering the food are following the recommended procedures such as wearing the PPE, which stands for personal protective equipment and that includes masks, gloves, gowns, those types of things, and delivering the food, using that so they themselves are protected. And then when they pick up the items, same thing. Then in the kitchen also having somebody who's going to be handling those dishes protected appropriately. The dishwashing machines right now have to sanitize the dishes in one way or the other. Either it's through a high temp or it's through a chemical. And studies have shown that both of those work to kill the coronavirus on the dishes. So that's how they would take care of that.

Those are the two things. One thing that I want to point out is you did touch on the fact that a lot of residents come to the dining room two or three times a day and not only they're getting their nourishment there, they're getting their social interaction there. Other things that I have seen communities do that have been really creative are they have started bringing the activities to the resident rooms. So, for instance, there's one community that I've seen some pictures of, they have adapted at a cart to look like an old ice cream carts and they're wheeling that down the hallway and serving ice cream Sundays to all the residents. They're getting a little bit more time with a caregiver when the caregiver is dishing up their ice cream and they're getting a snack, like they normally would have gotten on an afternoon if it was ice cream day. They're doing the same thing with a hydration carts and hydration cart is really all that, it says it has both beverages and then it will, a lot of times that'll have snacks, maybe yogurt or cheese or fruit or things like that. And they're doing the same thing. Taking the hydration cards down to the resident rooms.

Yeah. I suppose like you say, when they're able to spend a little more time and things are a little bit more lighthearted, like you said with like a dessert card or an ice cart. I think just the, the interaction with the staff and you know, having them show up at their door and you know, make offering them desserts in the middle of the day as opposed to nighttime or something. I would think that that just does a lot for their mental health as well. Even though it's been severely limited, just that amount of interaction with the staff and maybe being able to see their neighbors from across the hallway being served in the same way, that's going to do, that has got to be pretty helpful as well.

Shelly: Absolutely. Whenever you can get the residents interacting with caregivers or like maybe see each other from the hallway or things like that. I, yeah, I agree. It's great for the mental health and that social interaction.

So I also read something, I think it was last week about how a lot of these senior living independent living facilities, how because they have closed down their dining facility that they're using that space now that would normally be, you know, available for the residents to come in, you know, sit around the table for a couple of hours at a time. They're using that space now more as like a staging area to help better get things like these, these delivery, these in-room deliveries set up, ready to go, keeping the hot food hot, the cold food cold, getting them prepared, getting them put out to their trays. And just, I mean you're talking about a lot of people, where once you were able to serve them in one location, now you're going throughout this entire complex. And I mean that's gonna that's gonna be exhausting first of all, but they've got to be thinking of ways to make things more efficient. And that was one of the things that I had read recently, that them using their dining space as a staging area has helped with that delivery process. Have you heard anything else like that that's kind of helping with the overall adjustment?

Shelly: Absolutely. I keep using the word absolutely. That's how much I agree with you, Bill. You are right when you say that these communities are making changes to how they're using their dining rooms and they're doing the staging. So being able to consolidate the deliveries for maybe one wing, one floor, that is all going to mean that the quality of food that's being delivered is going to be higher. I'm sure that you've seen when you get a meal to go, depending on where you get it from and depending on how they package it, maybe you get a burger and fries and you get in your car and you drive home and then you sit down and you open up your burger and fries and the burger might be perfect, but your fries might be a little soggy. That all goes to the quality of the food and the quality of the a to go containers and things like that.

So being able to get that food organized, consolidated and get it up to the residents quickly means you're providing a better-quality meal. If you follow that even further, there are also  many of the facilities are looking at how they can utilize their staff in a different way. So you're right, most of the time when you've got a building that has residents that come down to the dining room, you're going to see them coming down or you're going to see servers much like a like wait staff at a restaurant, be the ones that are taking the orders and delivering the food to the tables. Well now that they can't do that, they are using this staff to deliver food to the residents’ rooms. So that's one great way that they are adjusting how they are using their staff.

I've seen them also use their dining rooms in another way. Storage is probably the number one thing that every senior living community says that they lack. So now if you can imagine a building that doesn't typically do 5,000 meals in a week in to-go containers, now they have to bring in all of that, all of that, those disposable goods so that they can serve their residents. I asked a customer of mine last week I said, are you guys finding any problems with your storage because of the amount of cases you have to bring in of your dry of the disposable goods? And he laughed and he said, normally we would totally have a problem with that. Right now, we're storing it in the dining room because we have room. And like I said, senior living is awesome at being creative, especially when there is a crisis situation like we have right now. And so that's just another thing that they're doing.

Another thing that I've seen, which I think has been really creative is they are partnering with local restaurants or bakeries in order to provide something different for the residents who maybe are used to going out and having a meal from a different place. So maybe a local restaurant is doing to-go orders. And what the community will do is they will ask their residents, okay, we're going to be ordering. We'll just call the restaurant Joe's diner. They'll tell the residents, we're going to be ordering from Joe's diner for your supper on Thursday night. If you would like to place an order with Joe's diner, here's the menu. And they're giving him a printout of the menu and then they're saying, please call this number, which is going to be a number at the community to place your order. That then the community is going to be consolidating all of the orders onto one larger order and giving that order to Joe's was enough time for them to get the orders prepared and bring them over to the facility. Another great way to make sure that they're providing top quality food for the community and at the same time helping a local restaurant stay in business. So, they're using the dining room then to stage the same way with other orders.

Yeah. The point about not only helping the residents, the community, you know, giving them some fresh meals and keeping things interesting and not the same thing day after day being able to coordinate, like you said, with those local restaurants that are in this time also suffering quite a bit. So, it's the community coming together, working together and trying to make the best decisions for everyone involved and that's a great point, I think it's fantastic.

Shelly:  I've also seen a couple of other things. Right now, as you said at the beginning of this conversation, a lot of communities are asking for non-essential people to not come to their communities. However, these communities still need to receive their deliveries. So now when you think about when you take the concept of non-essential people coming to your building, but you still have to receive your deliveries, you also want to look at it as how can we minimize the number of either people or companies that are delivering to us.  I've heard of many communities that are starting to consolidate vendors. For instance, maybe they used, they had their food broadline, they had a company that they were getting the produce from another company that they were getting their dairy from and another company they were getting their bakery from, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. In this time, right now they're trying to consolidate. So, if they can bring some of those things underneath one umbrella, it means less deliveries, otherwise known as less people coming to their community.  We're seeing the same thing for a company like Boelter. We have our disposables and we have our other products. They also are getting cleaning chemicals from us. They're getting one delivery from Boelter as opposed to a delivery from Boelter and then a delivery from someplace else. So, we're seeing customers do that in order to minimize the number of deliveries.

Final thing that they're doing is they're also tapping into some of the local restaurants or bakeries or other types of business and they are basically expediting the interview process and the hiring process and the orientation process so that they can get these people who maybe are out of work right now because their restaurant closed down and is not doing to-go’s. They're getting them to come and work for them and help out in the kitchen or help out delivering food or help out with being concierge where they're fielding the calls for the orders, these types of things. So, lots of creative things happening in senior living in order to keep the community and the residents safe to help their greater community that the building might be in and to just keep going. I think it's really creative.

Yeah they're definitely staying on top of it. They're doing whatever they can, however they can. They're, like you said, they're thinking creatively. I like the point that you just brought up about tapping into lot of these restaurants, local restaurants would have had to shut down or severely cut back on the hours that they're open. Limiting their staff. They're tapping into that resource and it seems like a perfect opportunity, right? You've got people that are out of work and maybe they were a chef, or they were a cook, or they were a dishwasher, whatever the case may be. Making that transition from a private restaurant or local restaurant into a senior living or assisted living community, that seemed like a perfect fit right there. But you're right, expediting the, the process of getting them transitioned and up and running quickly.

That seems like it might initially be a barrier, but again, they're being creative as to how can they get through their process quickly so they can help, you know, continue to serve the residents of  that senior living community that's a perfect fit in my opinion. Definitely. This is unprecedented and it's something that we've never really experienced in our lifetime, certainly. But it's going to come to an end, right? What does the future look like for senior living, you know, the kitchens, the dining rooms? How has this crisis changed the way that these communities are going to be prepared for something like this in the future? I'm assuming that they're going to have to take a step back. They're going to have to, a lot of companies are gonna probably take a look at what worked, what didn't work, what can they do to prepare for the future if something like this pops up again? From a senior living the dining room, the kitchen, what, what are some of your initial thoughts? How are they going to make changes to be better prepared if something like this happens again?

Shelly: So first off, I hope that in my lifetime nothing like this happens again. When you look at senior living, assisted living or whatever term you want to use for it, there are government regulations that are going to change because of the fact that we are part of the healthcare system. I don't know what those restrictions are going to be and only time will tell what they will be at, what the new regulations will be and a lot like the state of Wisconsin, which is where I live, some of the restrictions, excuse me, some of the regulations have even been changed for this emergency situation. Who knows what that will look like. I think that when you look at the whole, there's going to be a few different things.

When you look at the operators that are currently serving the senior population. This is expensive. What is happening right now with COVID-19 is expensive. They are having to purchase things that they have not necessarily had to purchase in these numbers before. So, as we said, we're on week four in Wisconsin of the stay at home or safer at home restriction. Then you said that your mom's community was already doing things prior to the stay at home. So, when you look at that now you've got a month's worth and potentially another month coming up in all of April of having to purchase things like disposables, additional masks, face shields, goggles, gowns, disposable products for the kitchen, disinfecting and cleaning products. All of these things that are going to change are that it's costing money. I read something yesterday that said that when it's all said and done COVID-19 could cost senior living over $50 billion.

That's crazy. 

Shelly: Yeah. On the whole though there's no industry that is better prepared than something like then the industry of senior living to handle what is going on. And that's because as I said at the very beginning, they always have had these disaster and emergency plans in place. It's just the magnitude of coronavirus. So now they may potentially, instead of having enough isolation kits, gowns, those types of things for a wing, maybe now they will find a way to store it for a building for a certain amount of time. That is on the operating side. 

On the development side, it's going to be very interesting to see what happens because we we're still hearing from our customers who are doing development, we are still moving forward with them on plans that they have to do things like build new buildings and to add wings and things like that. It's too early to say how development overall is going to be impacted. I think this is a very like novice opinion, but I think we're going to see, depending on how occupancy goes and depending on what the supply looks like in the course of the next six to eight months, I think is what we, what will be the telling factor for how development will be impacted. The one thing about senior living that is unlike other industries such as a restaurant or a hotel, is that senior living is a needed, it's a needs-based industry. So, we may not see as many independent livings go up because those are people who are moving into a community for the lifestyle, but there will always be a need for assisted living because there will always be elderly who need help with things like bathing and transferring and eating and those types of things. There will be a need for memory care and right now a lot of families who have a loved one who's living with them, who maybe is living with dementia or Alzheimer's, they may see a reason of having their loved one move into a memory care a little bit faster. I don't know. We'll see what happens there. But in memory care we will always have that need. And then skilled nursing that need will be there as well because skilled nursing are taking care of the sickest people.

Shelly Quote Senior Living will be alright

They're taking care of the elderly who maybe have several comorbidities, maybe are living with the side effects of a stroke or maybe have congestive heart failure and they need heart failure and they need that, that much higher level of care. So those are the good things that senior living has going for it. The other thing is, is that we've lived through some hard times before with the recession. 2007 to 2009 those were really rough years in senior living and that was not that distance of a past. So, knowing that we've lived through that before, I think that senior living is well placed to come out of this in a very good way. And biggest thing is, is that they're creative. They'll figure it out and they know they have to take care of the residents. And at the heart of it, it always comes down to taking care of the residents.

I agree. I agree 100%. You're right. It's, it's all about the residents. It's about making sure they're properly cared for. I think we're going to see a lot of changes come out of this at the end of the tunnel, which is hopefully right around the corner. I think a lot of industries are going to take a step back. They're going to look at, you know, this entire event and you know, what changed? Why didn't, why did it change? What needs to change? But at the end of the day, I think we're all gonna come out of this just fine. I wanted to thank you for coming onto the Boelter Wire again at to talk through all these issues. These are some important issues and I hope you and your family continue to be safe and that you'll get through this isolation period. Shelly, I know you're a pretty strong, so you'll come out of this on top. Are there any last-minute comments or anything that you wanted to make?

Shelly: I have two. First and foremost, Bill, I hope you and your family also are safe and I know that you guys will come out of this fine as well. I think that one of the best things about being both human and being American is that we're really resilient. So I think that you're right, we're going to come out of this fine and we're going to have some things look differently, but for the most part I think we are going to really be able to appreciate the connections that we'll get as soon as we get to leave our houses on a regular basis. The other thing is that, if you have children or if you have the heart for wanting to do something for some other people, I think that it would be amazing if, you have kids who want to just put together some drawings and some cards that just say that I'm thinking about you or I hope you have a great day that you could actually send to a local community.

So, if you have a senior living community in your neighborhood, or if you have a loved one that lives at a senior living community, just to put together, you know, 10, 15 generic cards, so they really could be for anybody to just say hello and just cheer somebody's day, that would be huge. Senior dining association, if you're not familiar, they also are doing some things. If you go onto their website, you'll see they've got a new program where they are connecting people with communities and they're actually helping you figure out if you don't have a connection with a community of how you can get some cards and some mail sent to these residents. I just think that reminding residents that we love them, even if we don't know them, it's just a great way to make yourself feel a little bit better because if you do something nice for somebody else, it's amazing how nice that feels for you.

Yeah, it's, it's amazing how the little things can make the biggest impact. As you were describing that and it's such a great suggestion for everyone out there that's listening. As a follow-up example my oldest daughter, she plays cello. She's a freshman in high school locally and just last week or maybe it was this last weekend, I had done some face FaceTime with my mother, who again, is alone there and she's struggling to get through. My daughter wanted to play a song for her, and it was a five-minute experience, but it made the biggest impact on her and it made her whole day. Whether it's  FaceTime or a card from a stranger or a picture, whatever it is, it's the little things that that, that are really going to get us through this. So that's fantastic. I'm glad you brought it up. Again, I hope you get through this. We're all going to be just fine. And again, thanks for coming on the podcast and I'm sure in the next couple of weeks we'll be doing another one of these. Hopefully next time we'll be face to face and not over the phone.

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