There are a few things in the senior living industry that make me want to bang my head against the wall.  One of them is how we tout the high levels of consumer satisfaction, then pat ourselves on the back thinking we have it mostly figured out. For sure we acknowledge we are not perfect and there are things we could do better but overall we are pretty satisfied.  But here’s the thing . . . maybe we are really missing the big picture.

No One Want’s What We Are Selling

I admit that it is not quite “no one” but studies and antidotal stories consistently tell us the same thing.  People do not want to move into senior living communities no matter how nice the community.  People love their own homes even though in many cases the new senior living community they could move into is hugely “nicer” by just about any metric than the home they are moving from.

Ultimately most people operate on the theme “There is no place like home”

Not Like Home

If you think about how most seniors live while at home, then compare it to their first, fifth or hundredth day of senior living and they don’t look very similar.  Somehow, perhaps we need to be able to hold on to the parts of home that are most important (this means more than bringing a favorite piece of furniture and a few mementos) and supplement those things with the needed care and wow moments.

Looking at Expectations

Will Nowell the Founder of ServiceTrac,  a Senior Housing Forum Partner and I have talked a lot about how senior living communities survey residents, what that information tells them and how they use it.   The ServiceTrac approach to examining expectations helps communities get to the heart of two very important questions:

  1. What gives you the resident happiness and purpose?
  2. What would give you the resident a wow experience?

Being able to get closer to answering these questions will help you get to the point where residents and families will rave about your community and keep you full which is what the ServiceTrac survey process helps senior living communities do.

Questions For You

Will suggested these questions as a way to more deeply engage with residents (maybe you are already doing this).

  1. For each of your residents can you or someone in your community describe the most meaningful thing each resident has done in their life?
  2. What are the little things about residents that would make them go wow? Some examples:  Favorite, color, flower, coffee (or other hot drink), book, television show, type of clothing . . . the list is practically endless.
  3. When was the last time you had a resident, family member or team member exclaim wow?

Steve Moran

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