Question of the Month: Communicating Positive Impact of the Industry

by Jeff Shaw

How can we effectively communicate the positive impact of seniors housing on both a national and local level?


Industry-wide ad campaign could attract residents, leaders

By Paul Mullin

Senior Vice President of Development


Our industry has discussed a “Got Milk” campaign for a long time, with the idea that we all need to communicate our value propositions to our residents and their families. 

At the end of the day, we are challenged to communicate the positive experiences, the relationships and purpose-driven lifestyle that are created in our communities. 

Demonstrating that we create these opportunities for our residents and families is important for seniors housing’s brand. It is also just as vital that we communicate these attributes to attract the next generation of leaders and associates we need to run our communities.


We must tell the world that our standards have changed

By Jeff Kraus

Managing Director

Spectrum Retirement Communities

The nature of senior living has changed dramatically in the last generation. It is up to us to describe the new standards to prospective families.  

For Spectrum Retirement this means outlining our philosophy of care — maximizing independence for our residents, while balancing health and security — and describing our first-class services. These include our maintenance-free apartments, well-appointed common areas and chef-prepared dining, and also the innovative activities and wellness programs that really make the difference.  


The industry can prove its worth through data

By Bill Pettit 

President & COO 

R.D. Merrill Co.

Our communities change lives for the better. We can show this through an industry-wide campaign with a global message. We need to anchor that message with a study that evaluates the difference in outcomes between seniors who stay at home versus those who access the life-changing benefits of seniors housing.

Are they happier, managing their health better, more engaged intellectually, and do they live richer lives? We know this is true and we need our associations to band together to deliver the factual support. Then we must push the story through collective advertising and social media.


Combine national approach with local, grassroots efforts

By Brian Beckwith 


Formation Capital

The challenges to the industry are broadcast on a national scale, so an industry push to improve the perception and acceptance is certainly worth the effort. While I am not suggesting a Super Bowl ad, a national approach in combination with more effective local reputations and grassroots efforts can only help.

The modern senior is still most likely to choose a seniors housing option only when he or she truly needs it, regardless of how many bars, spas or dog parks we build to attract them. Focus on the local, and supplement with national industry-focused ads. 


Show that senior living is affordable and crucial

By Jim Moore


Moore Diversified Services Inc.

In senior living, we need to address a new generation of seniors and adult children. There are two 21st-century strategic positioning statements for our industry. 

1 Senior living communities provide a surprisingly affordable living alternative offering ambience, dignity, maximum independence and non-institutionalized health resources for many seniors in their later stages of life.

2 Senior living can be a prudent and practical financial planning imperative — just like health insurance, life insurance, wills and estate planning.

The senior generation of today has different perceptions of value, financial planning and optimum lifestyles. Owner-operators must decrease their focus on general hype and place increasing emphasis on strategic positioning.


Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative

By Tamilyn Levin

Chief Financial Officer

Wingate Healthcare 

News about bad experiences and cheap operators spreads faster than state fines following a G tag [a negative safety grade for skilled nursing facilities]. We must promote the good experiences and positive outcomes, of which there are many.

Op-ed pieces, testimonials and word of mouth are our best tools. We also need effective associations who make it a priority to advertise for the industry. 

We are letting the naysayers grab the headlines. It’s time to turn it around.


Seniors housing should be about lifestyle, not healthcare

By Suzanne Koenig


SAK Management Services LLC

Baby Boomers are living longer, aging in place, staying in their homes longer. Many of them have different healthcare needs than their parents. The perception of the seniors housing platform needs to coincide with all the positive promotions for longevity, as well as part of a lifestyle choice.

Seniors housing should market facilities as a place to facilitate positive lifestyle choices and to promote health and wellness from retirement and beyond. As a Baby Boomer myself, I could look forward to going back and living with my best friends again, similar to when we were in college, living in the dorms.


Make the product the centerpiece of the campaign

By Chris Sides



The best way to effectively communicate with the end users is to focus solely on the product, not the stock price, the profit or the technology. 

You don’t have to be the biggest, just be the best. Service what you sell and the message will be heard far and wide.

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