Who is your biggest competition in the senior living industry? If you said the senior living community down the road you would be incorrect. Your biggest competition is actually the senior’s own home.
In the senior living industry, there is an average penetration rate of 8-12 percent depending upon the exact location. This means that of all the people who could choose senior living, only 10 percent do. The other 90 percent remain in their own homes or live with a friend or relative.
For some seniors, remaining in their own home can be the right decision. But other times, due to safety concerns, it is not the right place for them. Due to some sort of incident, some seniors need to move into a senior living community.
This can be a struggle for many seniors. They fear losing their independence. They wonder what this decision means for their future. You can’t completely take away their fears but there are ways you can help. Here are five ways you can help seniors who reject senior living centers:
Change is inevitable, but it can be scary. Seniors have spent their entire adult life taking care of themselves. It is hard to admit when they can’t do it anymore.
Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Not being able to drive at night or go to the grocery store may seem like small losses to you. But to them, those things represent the loss of their freedom and the life they have known.
Be friendly and positive
When a senior comes to tour your community with their family are you friendly and welcoming to them? Or do you spend the entire time talking to the adult children and ignore the senior?
It is important that when you meet with new seniors, you don’t ignore them and only speak to their family members. Often, it is the senior’s family who is pushing them to make this transition. Ignoring them will only make them feel more out of control and like they have no say in their own life.
And when you speak to the senior, don’t talk down to them or offer unsolicited advice. Your job is to listen, be friendly, and maintain a positive and helpful attitude.
Show a genuine interest in their life
Get to know the seniors who come to visit your community. They are people who have lived full and interesting lives and they need to know you care about that. Some good questions to ask are:
- Do you have any pets?
- What are you most passionate about?
- What did you do for a career?
- What are your hobbies?
- What do you enjoy about your current home?
Taking a genuine interest in your future residents will help them feel more welcome. It will show them that you want to understand who they are and what is important to them.
Show seniors how they can thrive in your community
Amenities are nice but that is not what most seniors are looking for. They need to feel a sense of belonging. Show them that their life can still have meaning once they are no longer living in their own home.
Moving into your community doesn’t mean their quality of life will disintegrate. Show them how they can continue to thrive in your community. Introduce them to other residents and staff members.
Seniors can continue to remain productive members of society and have a sense of purpose. It’s your job to help them see this.
Don’t try to sell them
Finally, even if you do all this some seniors will still not be ready and that’s okay. Of course, you should still continue to follow up but don’t be aggressive about it.
At the end of the day, the seniors who visit your community are people not sales quotas. You aren’t trying to sell them on how great their life will be once they move into your community. You’re providing support and meeting their needs as they transition into this next stage.