Top 10 positive and negative first impressions after touring 15 senior living communities in 3 days. (Part 1)

By Diane Twohy Masson 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?  What community would rise to the top and be their first choice?

What were my top 10 ten positive first impressions?

1)     Smelling freshly baked chocolate chip cookies when I walked into the lobby.

2)     As I drove up seeing perfectly manicured lawns, a good-looking building and some colorful flowers out front.  (Flowers in pots by the front door looked great.)

3)     Some kind of “wow” when I entered the lobby that would direct my eye to the beauty of the community and not see the walkers and wheel chairs.  An example was seeing a gorgeous/expensive flower/plant arrangement on a circular table as I entered the lobby.  Another retirement community had a beautiful living room area with a fireplace, a FRESH flower arrangement on the coffee table and happy residents conversing.

4)     Having the receptionist stand to greet me with a smile and a handshake.

5)     Being offered refreshments immediately (I was parched from all my touring!)

6)     Having a marketer tailor the tour to the needs of my mom.  They would bring each community space to life by painting a picture on how my mom would enjoy using it (based on her capabilities).

7)     Being introduced to important staff that would be caring for my mom.  It was especially impressive if they said, “We would love for your mom to live here.”

8)     Having a housekeeper or caregiver smile at me as I walked down the hall.  It gave me the impression that they were happy to work there and would smile at my mom.

9)     Hearing the residents being called by name and looking happy.

10)   Seeing vibrant activities taking place in a variety of community spaces. First impressions are everything to an adult boomer child trying to evaluate the best place for his or her senior parent. 

What first impressions are your senior living staff and community giving out?   Would you want your own mom to live there?  Could you sleep at night, knowing your own mom lived at your community?

Next week: Diane Twohy Masson’s top 10 negative first impressions in touring 15 senior living communities in 3 days and how some senior living communities chose to put their proverbial foot in their mouth will be coming in part 2.

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]

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