Residents consistently rate their senior living experiences very high on the satisfaction scale (93% in the most recent AFLA Resident Satisfaction Survey
A few days ago I published an article about how Pet Smart is doing a better job of handling prospect calls than senior living. That article was based on a conversation I had with Andrew Carle of George Mason University. As we continued our discussion he made the point that senior living is experiencing this great dichotomy:
- Residents consistently rate their senior living experiences very high on the satisfaction scale (93% in the most recent AFLA Resident Satisfaction Survey). They tend to like where they live. They like the staff and their fellow residents. It is quite common to hear residents say they wish they had made the move earlier.
They frequently realize too late, that if they had moved in earlier they would have been in better health, had more energy and would have been better able to take advantage of all that the community offers. In other words, they would have had a much higher quality of life.
- In spite of the fact that residents and their family members are very happy with their senior living experience, over the last fifteen years the average age of senior living residents has moved from around 80 to around 87. This is terrible for residents and terrible for senior living communities.
It means for residents that they are not able to fully take advantage of all that the community has to offer.
It means that staffing needs are much higher, which increases costs to the community and that translates to higher costs for the residents.
It means the length of stays are going down, which destabilizes census and dramatically increases sales and marketing costs.
It Does Not Need to Be This Way
If anything the quality of care and services provided in senior living today is at the highest level it has ever been. This should mean senior living should be even more attractive to younger seniors than it has ever been.
And yet . . . if anything, seniors are more resistant than ever to making the move to senior living. There are two keys to changing this:
- We need to ensure that we are creating a lifestyle that, even on the surface, appeals to a younger population of seniors.
- We need to do a much better job of talking about how and why the lifestyle is so attractive. Perhaps we could learn a lot from the marketing strategies used by the 55+ senior communities like Sun City.
They are experts in telling their story in such a way that young seniors are willing to sell the homes where they raised their families and move to a place with a whole bunch of other seniors. It is a lifestyle sale and not sale of care and services (though, in many cases, they make care and services easy to access).
So . . . here is my question: What are you doing to attract younger seniors to your community?