The Impact of COVID on Nursing Homes vs Assisted Living Facilities

Matthew Griffin, Senior Vice President, Griffin Living

It was a tough day in the senior housing and care business when a New York Times headline proclaimed nursing homes “death pits” in April during the COVID-19 crisis. The article cited that nearly a third of coronavirus deaths in the United States were in senior housing facilities.

With robust and innovative safety measures in place, senior living facilities at Griffin Living remain COVID free.

How can this be? It’s partly a matter of distinguishing types of senior living. Numerous reports on infection and mortality rates among seniors in long-term care facilities continue to combine numbers from nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While they face some similar challenges in a pandemic, these are distinct operations.

Nursing homes require skilled nursing care and generally house patients with more acute conditions. The level of fragility among patients at nursing homes puts them at higher risk for contracting and dying from COVID-19. Nursing homes also have more in-house staff, visiting technicians, and common laundry facilities which increases opportunity for infection. Assisted living facilities, like the communities built by Griffin Living, are for those recently retired who want the convenience that facilities can provide but don’t have intensive medical needs.

Matthew Griffin is Senior Vice President, Eastern States Division, Griffin Living



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Griffin Living

Griffin Living


An award-winning, privately-owned real estate development company dedicated to building the future of senior living.