The boom in the senior living industry over the past several years has spawned numerous opportunities for investors but complicated the decision making process for families seeking a safe and comfortable environment for their loved one. Historically, there were much fewer options when a family decided on assisted living or memory care. The huge influx of aging boomers changed that dynamic as investors seek to get in on the growing market by creating new communities and companies to meet the needs of the population. That is why it is more important than ever for senior living providers to examine public relations as a tool to distinguish their brand, amenities, and care of residents from their competitors. What does that look like? Here are some tips:
- Care is Key for Families: Care is one of the most important factors for families when considering an assisted living or memory care community. It is not enough to simply share the things that your community does differently when it comes to care on a website, advertisement, or brochure any more. The fact is that families want to see the level of care in action. Examine the differentiators for your community in terms of care. Is there a specific example of a specialized program or activities that you provide to help residents with heart health or weight
management? Leverage those programs by linking them with a specific event such as American Heart Health month and encouraging local media to see firsthand what you are doing.
- Expertise Goes a Long Way: Senior living providers have not traditionally seen themselves as thought leaders in a particular area of health for seniors but that is what they must become. Families with aging parents are looking for caregivers who understand the unique challenges that their loved ones are encountering. Whether it be depression, oral health, or memory loss, they want to make sure that your community can accommodate those needs. Encourage skilled nursing staff to write articles or blog posts about their approach to care. When individuals see this type of proactive thinking they are more likely to trust you which in turn will result in new residents.
- Include Residents Who Want to Participate: Residents of senior living communities don’t always want to participate in marketing activities but they may be more open to it if you focus the attention on them. Simply put, anyone over the age of 50 has a story to tell. It could be an amazing trip, a romance, or a successful career. As we age, we become increasingly interested in sharing those stories. If a resident has a good story to tell, let them tell it to local media outlets. Local television stations are always especially interested in these types of stories. More importantly, when prospective residents see these types of stories they feel more comfortable with the idea of moving to a senior living community. They want to know that they will be with people who are fun and engaging.
Public relations is a new frontier for senior living providers but in order to differentiate yourself, it has become a necessity. Don’t get left out.