By Steve Moran

A few weeks ago I discovered an Instagram account called Retirement House. At first it looked like six older people who were friends living in a senior living community having the most fun they had ever had in their lives — living their very best lives.

Take a look:

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A post shared by Retirement House (@retirementhouse)

It turns out they aren’t living in a senior community. They are not — or at least they were not — friends but actors playing the part of friends. Two “creators,” Adi Azran and Brandon Chase, could see how much competition there was in the young person creator space and wondered if they could create something that was focused on seniors.

Since they launched on TikTok in in June 2021, they have racked up some impressive numbers:

  • 5.6 million followers on TikTok
  • 1.5 million followers on Instagram
  • Many endorsement deals, though, as near as I can tell, none with a senior living organization.

What We Need

We will struggle to get full and stay full until it is clear that senior living is having a massive positive impact on the lives of residents — until each day, we are telling the story over and over again of residents who are living out their best lives because they are living in senior living communities.

I am struck by the reality that what they are doing with paid actors is something that could be done by senior living organizations, or even a company like Dash Media (Nathan, this is a huge opportunity for you), using real residents in real communities.

There Are Risks

There are risks, for sure. Most of the videos we put out in senior living are super safe, sometimes cute, and often boring. No one’s fault — part of our evolution — but the opportunity to go the next mile in video storytelling is huge.

The evidence has been there for a long time that these kinds of videos grab people’s attention. In 2015 we published an article titled “Assisted Living Residents Fight for Their Right to Party” about a lip sync video created by The Belvedere of Westlake that racked up more than 7 million views on YouTube.

But in order to go to the next level, we will risk offending people and turning people off.  That should be okay because the ultimate goal is to tell the story of how great senior living is … and we do believe it is, right?