Marketing a Twenty-Year-Old Senior Living Property?

Marketing a Twenty-Year-Old Senior Living Property?

Twenty-year-old Retirement CommunityIs this you?  Then you are in one of two situations – either your owners have renovated in the last 5 or 10 years or everything in your senior living property is original…

1) A Renovated Twenty-Year-Old Senior Living Community?

If your retirement community owners have renovated – thank your lucky stars!   It is awesome to be able to tell prospective seniors that a great sign of a quality organization is how well the building is kept up.  Tout the age of your building and make it a plus for future senior residents.

Yes, you may have limited community space or smaller apartments than your newer senior living competition, but competition could have insurmountable debt from financing in the last 5 years.  I am finding that older communities have more flexible payment plans for seniors who are considering an entrance fee for a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).

2) Original Furnishings and Tired Looking Senior Living Community?

Do you need to avoid the PUMPKIN carpet that has multiple stains in the dining room?  Are the couches covered with throws, because of the discoloration?  Is the carpet threadbare in spots?  This is a sales person nightmare.  What can you do?

Well, there are many in our industry who face this daunting sales task everyday!

You have two hopes in my opinion.  First, let’s hope that your quality of care is amazing and secondly that the operations team has done everything in their power to have a clean, fresh smelling building.   The best defense is often a strong offense.  You can say, “You can go down the street to live in a newer building, but no one can come close to us on the quality of our care.  So you have a choice.  You need to decide if the cosmetic appearance of a community is most important to you or if it is more vital to you in how your loved one will be treated and cared for in the coming months and years.”  Wow!  This is a powerful statement to make!

What would you pick if you were comparing two assisted living communities?  Remember to think like the customer!  Boomers want their parents to live in a nice community.  Surface people will only consider appearances.  Educate the boomer children to determine that care is most important and they will look past the frayed furniture.

If your retirement community has lousy care and looks old, just quit… or there has to be some redeeming quality that you can highlight.   Become a senior living expert in your area, know your competition and accentuate your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

Please share your marketing success or struggle story, if your retirement community is twenty years or older…

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at  If your curiosity is piqued to inquire on Diane’s availability to speak at a senior housing conference (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) – please call: 206-853-6655 or email  Diane is currently consulting in Southern California for Freedom Management Company, the proud debt-free owners of Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  For more information: Twitter: @market2seniors Web: Blog:

1 Comment

  1. Diane,
    Thank you for the post! Our independent living community, with skilled nursing on site, is 26 years old and we have mauve walls and carpets in our common areas. Especially from the adult children, I hear that our common areas look dated compared to our newer competition. My response is in agreement and add that most of our residents like the warm, soft colors and the classic, elegant style. I go on to say that our interior design team, with input from our residents, have a fiscally sound rennovation plan in keeping with this elegant style…and we are starting by adding a bistro/internet cafe and a brand new gym. I may follow with the excellent, condo-quality construction of the building depending on a few other questions I’ve asked. I will surely follow with; what is your most important consideration when selecting a retirement community? This usually brings us to the central issues like; Will the location work well for my needs? Will I have quality healthcare support if needed? Will I enjoy other residents and are there lot of fun and interesting things to do? I can surely articulate some positive examples and descriptions of these!
    As a continuous “student” in retirement living community sales, I’d like to know what feed back or ideas you or others might have. -Mark