Here are my top 10 positive and negative first impressions after touring 15 senior living communities in 3 days. (Part 2)

By Diane Twohy Masson My top 10 positive first impressions of touring 15 senior living communities were talked about in Part 1.  My goal was to put myself in the shoes of the adult boomer child looking for the right retirement community for an aging senior parent.  What would be his or her overall impression after viewing 3 to 5 senior living communities in a couple of days?  Now, in part 2, let’s talk about how some senior living communities chose to put their proverbial foot in their mouth and some of the reasons why they did not make a good first impression for this adult boomer child.

What were my top 10 negative first impressions of 15 senior living communities?

1)     Driving up and seeing a weed filled garden, the lawn too long or the building in any type of disrepair.  (If they can’t weed the garden on a regular basis, maybe they won’t be able to take good care of my mom on a consistent basis.)

2)     A sea of people in walkers and wheel chairs staring at me as I walked in the building or looked in the dining room.  If they were having a stimulating dining room conversation with their fellow residents or staff, they would not even have looked up at me (instead they were bored and ALL looked at me).

3)     Bad smells – from walking in a dining room and knowing someone needed his or her depends changed to smelling that old building smell.

4)     No activities happening and the residents looking bored.

5)     Having a resident say the food is bad (this literally happened).

6)     Being shown an apartment that was not rent ready with equipment lying around or was being used as a storage room.  This was surprisingly very common!

7)     Not being offered a cold refreshment when it was 90 degrees outside.  This happened at half the communities.

8)     The majority of marketers sat me down and started grilling me on my mom’s medical needs.  It was all about medical questions and they didn’t focus on her as a person or my concerns as an adult child.

9)     Seeing a resident eating alone in the dining room.

10) Experiencing a receptionist on the telephone, hold up her finger to me to wait, say something rude to a resident, hang up, roll her eyes and then ask me what I wanted… Most of these negative first impressions can be easily corrected with good management and coaching the senior living marketer. 

Even the best communities out there can’t predict what some of your residents would say to a tour.  But if your residents don’t look happy – what can your team do to redirect the seniors into an engaging activity?  Look around your retirement community with the fresh eyes of an adult boomer child.  

What do you see?  Can you say that all of the first impressions of your new future residents are great?

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at  If your curiosity is peaked to inquire on Diane’s availability to coach your senior living marketing team (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) or have her put on a sales retreat for your organization – please call: 206-853-6655 or email [email protected]

For more information:

Twitter: @market2seniors Web: Blog: 

Look Me (Steve Moran) Up: Next week (May 7-9, 2012) I will be at the Aging Services of California Annual Conference where I will serve as the moderator for two sessions: Tuesday, May 8  – 10:30  –  Boost Your Brand Online. Protect. Defend. Enhance Wednesday, May 9 – 2:45  –    Dementia Care: Developing Approaches that Work The Following Week:  (May 16-18)  I will be at the ALFA Convention in Dallas.  Come by the Vigil booth and say hello.

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