Since about 2010 I’ve been associated with a couple of non-profit Senior Housing, Home Care, and Hospice businesses, Knute Nelson and Ethos Home Care and Hospice. I’ve chaired both organizations which have a combined revenue of about $60 million.
I tell you that only because I try to stay up to date with those industries as much as possible. And, just yesterday I received a newsletter from a senior health organization with the title “Long-term Care Deaths and Cases are at an all-time low“. As you may expect, this headline dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now, it is no secret that the people that work, and those people that live, in senior complexes have had an extraordinary difficult year. However, I will contend that those that work in death care have as well.
In the newsletter, that you can read here, it was interesting for me to read that since December, when a vaccine first came out, deaths in assisted-living and nursing home settings have dropped by 89% and cases have dropped by 92%. There is a graph in the article which clearly shows the spikes in cases and deaths for March/April 2020 and November/December 2020 periods. It is nice to now see that curve going down.
According to the article, by mid-April of this year (2021) about 1/3 of all COVID-19 deaths were in long-term care facilities as compared to the peak last June of 49%. It’s also interesting to note that as our medical community learned more about the disease, they were able to save more people. For instance, in April of 2020 about 17.3% of all COVID cases in a long-term care facility resulted in death. By December of last year that number had whittled to only 8.3%.
I remember last year, about this time, being called by Barron’s and asked my opinion on what would happen with funeral home finances amid COVID deaths and (non) funerals. My answer turned out to be fairly close to what happened. . . . more deaths and less revenue per service would probably equal out so that funeral homes did not get financially hurt too much.
However, a year later, I realize the real answer should not have been about finances at all. I should have simply said, “Don’t worry. . . funeral directors will handle it“. Funeral directors learned as we went through COVID. We took care of families, we comforted people, and at times we had great hardships of our own. Some funeral directors got sick, some funeral directors died. . ..but, like a soldier in battle, they had given their all. And, we continued to be there for the American public.
I think we will all be glad when this is over. . . . . let’s hope we are on our way.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Virus ‘swallowing” people in India: Crematoriums overwhelmed. Video story and print article. ABC News.
- Bay City’s Trahan Funeral Chapel has new owner but will keep the family name. MLive (MI)
- Trahan Funeral Chapel website
- Volunteers lend a helping hand to spruce up Leverington Cemetery. Blue Mountain Eagle (OR)
- $750,000 needed for new state veterans’ cemetery. The Grand Island Independent (NE)
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