Recently, my mother-in-law moved from Seattle, Washington – where she had lived for the last 20 years – to Sun City West, Arizona a place she visited once before pulling the trigger.

Recently, my mother-in-law moved from Seattle, Washington – where she had lived for the last 20 years – to Sun City West, Arizona a place she visited once before pulling the trigger.

Just One Visit!

Why, Sun City West? Well, of course mom wanted to retire somewhere hot…really hot…surface of the sun hot.  Mom is well-traveled, both here and internationally, but she settled on Sun City West after doing a lot of online research.  She searched, printed, searched, bookmarked and searched some more. I remember the day she told us she was moving.  I was both shocked and hurt (OK, just a little . . .  but still) that we had not been asked to “help” mom with this decision.  She did it herself.  My 60-something year old mother-in-law using the power of the internet search engine to make a major life changing decision – for her and us!  I mean who’s going to watch the kids when my wife and I go away for the weekend! More and more seniors (sorry mom) are finding their online sea-legs and conducting their own research to determine where they will spend their retirement years. Ask Yourself Two Questions

  • Are they finding you?
  • Are you offering what they’re looking for?

A recent article in the New York Times by Kerry Hannon titled, “What to Consider When Looking for the Right Place to Retire” highlighted this growing trend.   In it, a Better Homes and Gardens survey is cited in which nearly one third of Baby Boomers polled said they plan on spending their retirement years in another state and a significant percentage will be looking for a 55+ community. How do you think they will research their decision? An increasing number of seniors – and even more adult children – are conducting their own online research.  With the onset of strategies such as remarketing (see my article “Ready, Aim, Fire! Repeat as Necessary“) it is almost an inarguable necessity of survival, that senior housing companies position themselves for this new paradigm. Not surprisingly, the reasons for mom choosing Sun City West as her retirement destination are mirrored by many others.  According to tourism expert Kathleen Andereck, associate dean of the College of Public Programs at Arizona State University, and co-chair of the National Recreation and Park Association’s Leisure Research Symposium, a built in social network is high on the list of decision points; but in the absence people you already know, communities offering a lot of quality-of-life amenities are very high on the list.  Making sure you are found, and that prospects are seeing what your community offers is critical to getting in the game. Does Your Community Offer What Today’s Retirees are Seeking?

  • Travel programs
  • Educational opportunities
  • Social-centric environment
  • Affordability

I spoke with Sage Age Strategies’, (a Senior Housing Forum partner) President and Executive Consultant, Faith Ott, who confirmed this, “Today, senior living providers that offer a broad array of social activities that promote resident engagement and a sense of community enjoy strong consumer appeal and competitive advantage. Additionally, those that optimize the value of their social environments through the power of social media are best positioned for growth.” I tried to get a few quotes from my mom for this article, but when I called she was in the middle of Spanish Class.  She called me back, just after her water aerobics class, but before I could get a quote she had to run home and get ready for the community Dinner Club that evening.

Getting the picture?

If you’re looking for assistance in developing an effective social media strategy that highlights your social and activity programs, the award-winning team at Sage Age Strategies are experts in this area.  Reach out to Faith Ott and her team at 570-601-1720 or visit them at

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