By Steve Moran
It occurs to me that the real problem with market acceptance of senior living is one very simple thing …
You might fairly challenge me on this, but only to the extent that what we are really talking about is value, meaning the benefits relative to cost.
You might further argue that even if senior living were amazing everywhere, there would be some people who would not take it for free, which is also true.
Take your pick: Computers, tablets, and smartphones are ubiquitous in the marketplace. I can’t imagine going to a senior living conference and finding a single person who is not carrying at least one smartphone. (If you know of someone, I would love to hear their story.)
Even the number of residents not using technology is shrinking every day.
One more point on this. There is a lot of variety when it comes to what smartphone. Most use a version of the iPhone, but some of us are anti-Apple. Some of us want the latest and greatest, others will use their old smartphones until they quit working, and when they do quit working will go looking for the one that has the lowest costs given the basic features they are looking for.
Remarkably, 97% of the adult population in the US owns a cell phone, and 85% use smartphones (Pew Research), and the growth of smartphone adoption has been crazy fast.
Dream With Me
Imagine for a moment that we could create a variety of senior living options that were so appealing that, say, 97% of the adult population wanted that for when they get older. If that is too big a dream, then how about this. Looking at the age 65+ cell phone use: 92% have cellphones, and 61% have smartphones. So what if we created something so great, so amazing that 61% of older people would feel a compelling desire to move into senior living?
You might think I am nuts, but how about this? Cruise ships were once for a tiny slice of very wealthy passengers. In 2018, so pre-pandemic, 14 million people who lived in the United States took at least one cruise vacation. That would be enough to fill every senior living community times five.
Right now, today, there are enough older people with financial capacity to fill every single senior living community two or three times over.
All It Takes …
We need to think in terms of three things:
- Creating an experience that is amazing. That people will talk about, that people will look forward to. It does not have to be perfect. If you doubt me, think about the huge amount of hassle involved in getting on board a cruise ship and getting off at the end.
- Offering a variety of choices at various value levels.
- Telling the story over and over and over again. Personal stories about transformed lives.
This is doable!