By Steve Moran
The story is told of a church that was dying. The number of people attending was plummeting. Their endowment was shrinking. The building had massive amounts of decay and delayed maintenance. They could hardly pay their bills.
They were talking of shutting down, closing the doors, and selling off what was left.
We know there are senior living communities in this exact situation. All is not lost.
A new pastor came in, which was mind-blowing in the first place, and he decided that the church should belong to the community and be open to the community.
They bought a few cans of bright colored paint and created a “Birthday Room” for kids, families, older people, anyone who needed a big space for a birthday party (or another kind of event). And they made it available for free. It did not take long before the church was the center of community life and thriving.
Senior Living as a Community Center
As a concept, senior living offers so many opportunities to do this. Here are just a few:
- A birthday room, for free or maybe for a small charge if they want snacks. Can you imagine residents on the edge watching, maybe participating, feeding off the energy?
- A break room for police, fire, and ambulance crews. What if they knew they could stop by anytime to grab some coffee, a cold drink, a snack, and a place to work on reports?
- A Wellness clinic for seniors, or maybe everyone. What if you offered low-cost or at-cost rapid Covid testing?
- A laundromat for your team members. What would that do for recruitment? Make sure the cost is right and there are enough quarters to feed the machines, or better yet make it free.
- A meeting place for any group. Think about how early your community winds down and all that space just sits unused.
My wife is part of a women’s investment club that meets monthly. It is a no slouch group that controls well over half a million dollars in assets. Before the pandemic, they were meeting in the neighborhood library. They moved to Zoom and are now meeting in a member’s home, but that is not ideal.
I am sure they would be delighted to meet in a senior living community. They are people who have influence and financial means. Almost certainly there would be some referrals coming out of the community.
So Many Possibilities
Many communities are doing virtual life enrichment activities. What about opening those up to older people in your local area? There are so many possibilities. All of which cost little or nothing. If you have an audience, people coming through your community, you will make your community a better place, the world a better place, and . . .
You will have higher occupancy!
I’ve given you some ideas about how you could be using your community to open up to the broader community. What are your ideas? How about listing just one?
Go make the world a better place, one step at a time.