There was an 8% decrease in occupancy levels within the older persons’ care home market between March and September 2020. Conservative estimates project that occupancy levels will grow to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023 with the return gradually rising to meet these levels. More aggressive projections see the market for older people’s care homes rise by almost 25% by 2031 with the accompanying conservative estimate a rise of almost 5% in the same period.
The trend within care homes seems to have continued away from the rush to consolidate within the older care home market following the collapse of Southern Cross in 2006. Since that event, there has been a focus on deconsolidation in the sector with an increased emphasis on small to mid-range groups of homes. At its peak in 2006, the 10 largest care home groups commanded almost 30% of the market and at the recent count in 2020 this figure stood at just 20%. Whether this decreasing trend continues into the future remains to be seen.
The trend in respect of the changes in the make-up of care for older people from the traditional care home model to a domiciliary care equivalent does not necessarily appear to be reflected in the statistics. Whilst it would appear to be true that the size of the domiciliary care market does appear to be increasing and it has taken some of the market share from the older care home sector. The numbers of care home residents appear to have remained consistent to date. There is likely still to be considerable demand in the future for care homes to meet the demands of people who cannot have their needs met in their own homes as a consequence of dementia or complex nursing needs.
These findings were taken from a complimentary webinar held by Laingbuisson today, 20 January 2021, a recording of which will be available on their website soon.