Is For-profit or Non-profit Better in Senior Housing?

Is For-profit or Non-profit Better in Senior Housing?

Tug of WarWhat’s better? What’s the senior housing spin?

My mother moved into a not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community. That’s where I started my senior housing career. I sold the not-for-profit status as better and more mission driven than the money grubby for-profits, because that was what all the not-for-profits said and did.

I was naive for three reasons, because later I learned:

  1. A non-profit board that did not understand seniors or senior housing made financial decisions for the entire senior living community.
  2. Most of the profits at the non-profit went towards other ministry work instead of being reinvesting back into the senior community.
  3. A resident was sexual abused by a non-profit staff member, even though every employee professed to be Christian.

Then my senior housing career switched to for-profit. It can be pretty dog-eat-dog aggressive at some companies. It really varies in the senior living industry if the resident is number one or the stockholders are the primary concern. So you better find out before you consider moving there or working there.

If a sales person can’t hit the required sales numbers, you are simply fired at some for-profits. Maybe that’s why so many sales people are impersonal and just want to know if you are ready now? If a senior is not ready now, the sales person has no interest in calling a senior back after they have toured. This is sad, because most seniors need to come back several times before making a decision to move. A relationship needs to be built. 

At for-profit senior living communities, most financial decisions go towards the benefit of the stockholders. But there are some amazing administrators that love, adore and would walk on hot coals for their residents and staff. So resident centered communities can vary by location and not the owner in my opinion.

There are actually two types of for-profits: Those on the stock exchange and boutique communities that are run by families or attentive owners. I am lucky to work for a for-profit that is run by attentive owners. They have the heart of a not-for-profit and are completely resident centered and mission driven.

The communities I represent do something very unique for Continuing Care Retirement Communities. They offer a Guarantee of Care for life, if a resident outlives their resources. Every resident has the same offer, it is not limited to 5 or 10 residents on a good Samaritan fund or foundation. 

Do you agree with my analogies or am I completely off base?  How would you evaluate the differences?

Your Senior Housing Options,” has a simplistic title, but what’s inside this new book can save a you months of research time.  Hear Diane Masson’s interview of how her mother and in-law’s faced the pivotal decision to plan ahead or wait until a crisis.  Learn the pitfalls from transitioning from your home to senior housing.  Understand what questions to ask, insider tips and dirty secrets revealed. For weekly tips join at: 

Diane Masson has worked in senior housing for 17 years and is the regional marketing director for two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern CA (Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet).  Her first book “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” is being utilized by senior housing professionals across the country.  Both her first book and second book, “Your Senior Housing Options,” have a 5-star rating on

Recognizing Buying Questions in Senior Living

Recognizing Buying Questions in Senior Living

Recognize Buying Signals in Senior LivingSome senior living sales people are so focused on getting a deposit that they miss crucial buyer signs from a senior living prospect.  One easy tip for you to start using today is to never answer an easy question that a senior or adult child asks with a simple, “yes” or “no.”  Instead, respond with a clarifying question and discover more about his or her mindset.

The following is an excerpt from my book, “Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.”

For example, if they ask, “Is this apartment available?”  You ask, “What is your time frame for moving in?”  The answer given is very telling.  They might say, “Well, I have to sell my home first.”  This indicates they want to buy it!  You just have to walk them through the steps on how to make it a reality.

More Buying Questions 

  • Asking about availability of a certain apartment.
  • What is the time frame required to move into this apartment?
  • They want something repeated.
  • Wanting to know about rates, price, or affordability.
  • Asking about the quality or levels of health care that are offered is a great sign.
  • Wanting to see the model apartment.
  • Asking what the other residents are like.
  • Comparing your senior living community with the competition. This means they are doing their homework and are interested.

Start recognizing closing questions that they may ask you.  The questions can come in the beginning, the middle, or the end of your senior living tour.  When they ask you a question, never answer with a simple “yes “or “no.”  It’s good to answer with a clarifying question that allows more discoveries as to their needs or wants.  Your strategic question can often turn into an early close and result in the sale.

They may say, “How much money would I have to put down to hold it?”  This is not a sale until you walk them through all the steps.  But it’s darned close!

Have your senior living occupancy start increasing today!

Please share your strategies, successes, failures or comment below 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 at with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.


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