January 2021 — Health Care & Senior Housing Quarterly — Page 17 www.crej.com INSIDE T he COVID-19 crisis undoubt- edly has created challenges in the senior living sector. Residents and their families are being impacted, lease-up activ- ity has slowed due to state and local guidelines, prospective residents have delayed their move-in decisions until a vaccine is readily available, facilities have been forced to increase expenses due to the need for personal protective equipment, and staff shortages have arisen due to positive COVID-19 cases among employees.These challenges have led to a distressing year for many facilities. As the health and safety of staff and residents is critical in any senior living portfo- lio, the recent news of vaccinations is extremely positive. Vaccines will allow for these facilities to be a safe, secure places for residents and providers alike. Given the coun- try’s aging popula- tion and the vital role these facilities play in protecting high-risk elderly individuals in our communities, it is unlikely that the demand for needs- based senior housing will be reduced in the coming years.This article out- lines several reasons why our firm is optimistic about the long-term future of senior living facilities despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. n Historical performance. Histori- cally, senior living has seen strong per- formance relative to other real estate asset classes. As illustrated in the chart on Page 23, senior housing has outper- formed all other asset classes over the past 10 years; only industrial properties generated higher returns over the past one-, three- and five-year periods. The question is, how will the impact from COVID-19 effect returns over the next 10 years?We believe this asset class will continue to outperform into the future due to dramatic increases in senior demographics expected over the next 10 years. By 2030, the entire baby boomer gen- eration will reach age 65 and will make up approximately 21% of the total population in the U.S. Over the last 100 years, life expectancy has increased by approximately 30 years in America. At the same time, the prevalence of heart disease and cancer in the senior community has grown. As a result of a surging senior demographic, coupled Wellness initiatives and convenient access to medical care are top of mind for new projects Behavioral health considerations are important features for senior care facilities Facility trends Behavioral care PAGE 20 PAGE 22 Drew Lacey Vice president, Bow River Capital, lacey@ bowrivercapital.com Evaluating Denver’s senior housing occupancy performance during the pandemic Market update PAGE 18 Market assessment: Short-term pain, but long-term optimism January 2021 Please see Page 23 Given the country’s aging population and the vital role these facilities play in protecting high-risk elderly individuals in our communities, it is unlikely that the demand for needs-based senior housing will be reduced in the coming years. Pictured above is The Lodge at Grand Junction.