As news reports continue to pour in regarding Covid-19, also known as the coronavirus, it’s essential for businesses in the longevity industry to understand implications of the virus on both their customers—older people—and their businesses.
Health risks associated with coronavirus increase at age 60 and are highest for those 80+. So for companies working with primarily people in these age brackets, it is necessary to know how to prevent spreading the virus among your clients and customers. As we have seen with the recent cancellation of the $350 million event SXSW, the implications of the virus are not solely health-related—they are financial as well. For all these reasons, it’s important to be proactive in keeping your employees and customers safe as you keep your businesses running.
Numerous aging nonprofits, associations, senior services organizations and longevity businesses are working hard to provide ongoing updates. Keep in mind the situation is changing daily, so be sure to visit sites relevant to your business regularly to ensure that you are operating with the most up-to-date information.
In addition to the links below, longevity professionals can visit the Centers for Disease Control daily for updates. The site also features the White House Coronavirus Task Force report: Keeping Workplaces, Schools, or Commercial Establishments Safe. Updated numbers on those affected by the virus will be updated Monday through Friday at 4 p.m.
Following are just a few of the resources being created and updated—for consumers, aging services providers and businesses—from across the field of aging.
Aging Nonprofits and Associations
Senior Housing & Congregate Living
While we focus on the most imminent task of keeping older people safe, it’s also paramount to recognize the employment and financial implications surrounding Covid-19.
Mary Furlong, a leading authority on the longevity marketplace whose company helps produce the What’s Next Longevity Business Summit, is currently managing workarounds for upcoming events to keep participants and their families safe. In the larger longevity space, she says, financial implications could be large. Business deals may get pushed out two or three months due to the outbreak, she says, and some entrepreneurs may have a difficult time finding funding for their next phase of growth.
Still, Furlong says, the issue may force some positive changes in the industry, as well. For instance, she says, there’s been an increase in sharing and creating best practices and other resources, and new issues are being brought to the surface. Many companies will also be forced to upskill technologically, learning to work remotely and hold events online.
For companies working in longevity, it’s imperative to keep common sense and good business practice at the top of the list. As noted above, stay informed by visiting the Centers for Disease Control website daily, and share that information with employees so they know you’re on top of it. And when merited, take steps to limit (or eliminate) travel and allow nonessential team members to work remotely to decrease chances of acquiring or spreading the virus. Businesses also might take time to understand the ramifications of decreasing a portion of your contingent workforce for the time being
If your business math isn’t adding up, consider picking up new services to keep older people safe (and your company) afloat. For instance, Furlong says, there is a 27-hour wait for meal delivery in San Francisco right now. Could your company offer patchwork meal delivery services to improve current wait times or offer alternative transportation services to pick up the slack for overworked Lyft and Uber workers?
Lastly, while it’s important to remain calm in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s also necessary to be realistic. In Germany, it’s now estimated that 2/3 of the country will be infected with the virus. Especially in an industry where our clients and customers are the facing the highest risk, it’s not just good business practice to plan for the worst-case scenario—it’s our responsibility.