How Do You Pamper Your New Move-Ins?

How Do You Pamper Your New Move-Ins?

Treating Seniors Like RoyaltyDo you treat them like royalty?  Yesterday at Disney World they introduced the 11th princess, Merida (from Brave), and you know what they did?  All the other princesses came out to meet her and make her feel welcome publicly.

Some of you work in rental communities, where senior residents can give a 30 days notice at the drop of a hat –- if they are not happy.  Those of you with entrance fee Continuing Care Retirement Communities typically have a 90-day 100% refund – if the resident is not satisfied.

Recently, I have seen seniors moving from one senior living community to another, because the resident had poor transportation service, bad hamburgers or care promises not kept.  Seriously??!!??  Why aren’t senior living providers working harder to keep their clients?

Remember the first day of high school?  Walking into the cafeteria for the first time and wondering who to sit with or who would accept you?  Residents can feel the same way, when they move to a new senior housing community.  This fear can easily be off set by arranging dinners with different resident hosts for the first week.

How are you rolling out the red carpet at your retirement community for new residents?

Do you have someone dedicated to greeting new move-ins?  Are other residents reaching out to them and showing them the ropes on how to order in the dining room or the other little nuances of your community?  How are new move-ins integrating with the other residents?  Is there a focus on treating the new residents like royalty?  Do your maintenance, housekeeping and dining service teams all reach out with special services on the first day?  If not, they should be…

What do you do to pamper your new move-ins?

Please comment to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at  Masson’s book will be required reading at George Mason University in the Fall as part of the marketing curriculum.  She is currently consulting with Seniors For Living and two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. Connection and partnership opportunities: Email:


  1. Hi Diane,
    I would like to mention that many facilities neglect the “adjustment process” inherent in adapting to any major change, especially the very taxing adjustment process for seniors entering a new facility living situation. It is my professional opinion that all new residents to any assisted living facility or long term care facility be offered the opportunity for counseling services to assist in this adjustment process. New residents are not only faced with the stress of having to learn their way around, adjust to new schedules and procedures, get to know the staff and establish new support systems and activities, but they also are faced with the very important task of grieving and letting go of their former living situations and sometimes, critical support systems. There are many ways that the adjustment process can go awry, even in formerly well-adjusted persons. Individual counseling can help seniors understand the “process” of adjusting to a new facility, develop realistic expectations concerning the time that it takes to adjust to such a major change, and provides them the opportunity to quickly identify and resolve via therapeutic problem-solving any difficulties they are experiencing. Expressing one’s sense of loss regarding former living situations, friends, routines, etc., is critical in the process if one is to successfully “move-on”, and this task is best accomplished via private counseling. Offering counseling services to all new residents also provides critical emotional support as they are getting to know others, as well as the opportunity to address any family issues that are impacting the adaptation process. I’m not sure if you have covered this important component to successful facility adaptation in your book, but after 15 years of working with seniors in facilities, I am convinced that providing professional individual counseling is one of the most important things a facility can do to positively impact resident satisfaction and retention.

  2. Linked In Senior Care Services Companies

    “seniors moving from one senior living community to another, because the resident had poor transportation service, bad hamburgers or care promises not kept. Seriously??!!?? Why aren’t senior living providers working harder to keep their clients?”

    Bad business plans. Running on the cheap. Hey they are old and will die off soon
    By Dave Mainwaring

    • I have the same exact reaction as you do…..poor transportation- that is easy to rectify,
      care promises not met…why promise anything you can’t deliver??? bad hamburgers, well food is a touchy subject. The facility is probably watching the sodium and sugar content of EVERYTHING.

      It is a terrible shame that some people do have the attitude that these are old people and they will die soon. Don’t they know anything about Karma?

  3. Linked In Linkage Marketing Senior Living

    Diane, love your book. It’s required reading for all of my staff whether a newbie or oldie.
    By Patricia Grace

    • Thanks so much Patricia! I am so glad my book is helping your team!

  4. Linked In Assisted Living Professional Network


    You’re right about how “traumatic” new residency can be for some seniors. So, you do want some solid transitional activities in place to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. Chesterbrook Residences, Inc. is an award-winning, mixed-income, non-profit assisted living community in the McLean/Falls Church area of northern Virginia. We have found success in establishing welcoming activities from a few vantage points when a resident moves into our community.

    First, our Welcome Committee, which is made up of residents, assigns a committee member for the first full day of the residents stay. This resident will present the new resident with a beautiful basket of essential items that are often forgotten about during a move. These items can be things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc. The resident will offer to escort the new resident to breakfast, lunch or dinner to introduce them to other residents, answer any questions they might have and just have a generally good time. Another resident is assigned to help the resident get acclimated over the next two weeks with routine events, special events and activities and just general procedures.

    Second, during the first few days, our Resident Services Coordinator checks in on the resident to see if the resident has any needs that have not been met and if she can accommodate her in any way. This could be with getting to activities or transportation away from the community or any tweaks that maintenance may have to make. The RSC is prepared to assist or find assistance for just about any issue that the resident may have.

    Finally, each department head makes a visit to the new resident to talk about the things of their department so that the resident understands policies and procedures and knows to whom they go for particular things.

    These safeguards have worked well in our community. We’re fortunate to be known as the community with the friendliest staff. In the five and a half years that we have been in business, about 99% of our residents leave because the state of their health require that they leave.
    By Victoria Johnson

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    I will be very interested in reading the responses. I think making someone feel very special is important and recognize that we need to “up the importance of you” (the new move in) for our facility. We are “nice” and “welcoming” but all too often I think our new folks need more information. Perhaps we should provide more written info. I do like the idea of doing a life story prior to admission or very soon thereafter.

    Disney also announces your entrance to the ship, when you cruise with them. I like that concept too.
    By Edith Gendron

  6. Linked In Elder Care Professionals

    After the new admission arrives in our facility, we make an announcement overhead that we have welcomed a new member to our family and we state their first name and say ” Today we welcome a new member of our family, please take a moment to stop by and say hello to “Jane”. They love hearing their name over the loud speaker and it gives staff and other residents a heads up that we have someone new!
    By Julie Schlieter

    • Linked In Elder Care Professionals

      That’s a great way to welcome someone! We don’t have an overhead intercom.
      By Edith Gendron

  7. Linked In CCRC’s – Continuing Care Retirement Communities

    Resident ambassadors and welcome committees are a nice touch. Every home has dynamo personalities who thrive on engaging newcomers and making them feel at home. Positive energy feeds off of positive energy.

    A welcome basket containing essential yet often forgotten items is a nice touch. Taking this a step further, the on-boarding or community relations manager could find out from family members of the new resident what sort of items, treats/snacks and activities their loved one likes and appreciates and incorporate them into their welcoming strategy.

    the bottom line is the fact that the residence has taken the initiative to reach out to the individual in a personal fashion will go a long way in easing the fears and jitters in such a significant change to their known environment.

    Agree or disagree, this is a good topic of discussion. Thanks for starting it Diane!!
    By James Burchell

  8. Linked In CCRC’s – Continuing Care Retirement Communities

    One advantage of a smaller community is that our move-ins get much attention. We have 5 directors in our community and all take time to either visit or make a personal introduction. We also provide each new resident with a ‘welcome’ package of goodies and need to know type items.
    By Tina Moyers Boozer

  9. Linked In CCRC’s – Continuing Care Retirement Communities

    The most meaningful “pampering” is a warm and sincere welcome from all staff members, and the assurance that every aspect of the move-in is flawless. Make sure the apartment is squared away from corner to corner, top to bottom, that all equipment is functional, amenities are in place, and supplies are well stocked. A greeting card signed by the entire staff along with a basket of flowers, or a basket of goodies individualized to the new resident’s tastes, is a nice touch. Prior to move in, ensure all staff are familiarized with the resident and his/her preferences and service needs, and have a plan for all to meet and greet the resident during the first few days. If there is an opportunity for a resident “buddy” to stick close to the new resident as he/she orients to the community, that is a plus. At the resident’s first meal, make a “dinner reservation” for the resident and his/her guests, and deliver exceptional service. Preplanning the elements of the move in can be challenging at times, but delivers a strong first impression – and you never get a “do over” on first impressions.
    By Brenda Mast

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    great question, somehow after what you said about the princesses, maybe we have some work to do.
    By Larkin, Linda

  11. Linked In CCRC’s – Continuing Care Retirement Communities

    We recently started giving a pack of note cards with an artiste rendering of the community on them and a supply of new address labels so the new resident could send them to their friends. It also helps market the community to ther receiver. We also do a New Resident Orientation class and have each department head present their areas. We are a little unique in that we are an urban high rise twin tower community and it is very confusing for newbies. And lastly each new resident gets a bathrobe with our logo on it and a letter from the executive director welcoming them.
    By Douglas Buttner

    • Sounds wonderful at your community for new move ins.

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    We are doing the same/smaller scale at New Era located in Lakeland,Fl plus a bedside visit/interview/feedback from new resident and family after 2 weeks to re-assess needs,requests and suggestions. Great to know many understand the anxiety that a move like this can cause even if it was the fanciest facility in town.

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    Also, welcome them with a free service at the salon within the community.This often will make the resident feel better and if they feel better they usually want to get involved socially with activities etc. This will ultimately make the transition a little easier.
    By Nicole Adams

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    Whew. You’d have thought that was writing in binary code! For some reason I was having a problem seeing the comment.

    I finally managed to get to them though, and there were many good ones.

    I really enjoy being able to share ideas instead of feeling like the proverbial wheel has to be reinvented with each concept.

    Most of us are not competitors as we are states apart, so sharing becomes a very good thing!

    Thank you for starting this discussion.
    By Edith Gendron

    • Hi Edith, I am glad you found all the comments at the end of the post. Everyone’s blogs posts appear differently and there is so much “stuff” before you see the comments at the bottom.

  15. Linked In Top Trends For Marketing To Boomers and Assisted Living Prospects

    When a new move-in comes through the door, our management team, including our Activity Director, meets them and introduces themselves. We also have a resident introduce themselves and take them under their wings.
    We have also noticed that no matter how much we pamper someone, there is always the resident who is not satisfied and will complain at every turn. They are usually the ones that go from facility to facility.
    By Gina Conte

    • Hi Gina, it sounds like your team does a great job with senior living move ins! I think we can only make 96% of the residents happy – not the other 4%

  16. Linked In CCRC’s – Continuing Care Retirement Communities

    Barbara, great ideas! Especially the housewarming open house. Thanks
    By James Burchell

  17. Linked In CCRC’s – Continuing Care Retirement Communities

    Interesting article, Diane. So what about the non US markets?

    Over here in the UK, at Middleton Hall Retirement Village (rather small by US standards) in northern England, we do provide a welcome card, basket of essentials, flowers, champagne, Middleton Hall cards etc. on arrival.

    However, the most effective introduction is that we invite people reserving properties (or very serious prospects) to dinner or lunch with existing residents during the sales process (or several) as it can take several months with the British property market. Our existing residents are our best sales people by far (they often invite prospects back to their apartments or bungalows and often keep in touch) and by the time new residents move in, they already know most people, as well as staff. They are also invited to coffee mornings in the run up to moving in and encouraged to use the restaurant for meals like the Sunday carvery with family.

    You need to be confident of existing customer satisfaction, of course!
    By Jeremy Walford

  18. Linked In CCRC’s – Continuing Care Retirement Communities

    I liked Brenda Mast ideals on how to welcome new move ins. It was authentic, and
    very down to earth. Just give the residents the comfort of home, and feeling good about there new move, and changes as Brenda Mast stated. I especially like the idea of a buddy
    to be with him/her while acclamating to all the changes.
    By Carol Sula

  19. Linked In CCRC’s – Continuing Care Retirement Communities

    Jeremy brings up a good point about resident ambassadors. I have seen this in action at a recent open house event where the ambassadors welcomed the potential residents and introduced them to the other cohabitants and staff. I think more communities should adopt this form of “silent advertising”. Great idea.
    By James Burchell