I can’t stop thinking about my surprise visit with my mom yesterday. I arrived Sunday afternoon about 2:30 PM to Freedom Village Healthcare Center in California. She was not in her usual places – where was she? A caregiver said, “Oh, your mom is down in the activity room.” I said to my husband Chris, “We really need to pay more attention to the activity calendar, so we don’t visit during those times. I want her to enjoy all the social times and I can visit her when nothing else is going on.”
We happened upon the activity calendar and all the activities were done for the day. So what was she doing? As we turned the corner, we saw my mom’s beaming face. She was playing bingo. The caregiver smiled at me and said, “Oh, do you want to take your mom?” I said, “Absolutely not, let her enjoy herself.” It was great to see pure joy – when she said, “Bingo!”
What was interesting to me was her interacting with the other residents and helping them play too. My mom has severe vascular dementia. When she speaks it is about 70% non-reality. What a great activity to really stimulate her brain. The caregiver said to me, “We decided to put on a bingo game for them, they like it and it gives them something to do.”
Well, bless those two caregivers who created an unscheduled resident activity to help with the resident’s quality of life. This was a huge “Wow” for me and I can’t stop thinking about how happy my mom was. For those of you who follow my blog, I moved my mom 1000 miles to be near me about three months ago. This was the best day of my mom’s life here in California.
After each resident said bingo, the caregiver would call the resident by name and say, “You won a cookie.” No cookies appeared. I thought to myself, well the residents have dementia – they won’t remember the cookie promise. To my utter surprise – cookies appeared at the end of the last game. One cookie for each resident. When the caregiver was handing out the last cookie, the resident said, “I don’t get one – I didn’t win.” The caregiver said, “That’s okay, you are a winner for even being here.” There are tears in my eyes writing this, because these staff went above and beyond!
As the afternoon progressed – my mom continued being animated and talking nonstop. It did not matter that 60% was non-reality. She was having a great time and I loved spending quality time with her. Some people think people with dementia have nothing to offer in life, well, they are 100% wrong.
Please share your success, 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 Amazon.com 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. Most recently Masson was recruited to consult for 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.
© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.
Then add another 17 Continuing Care Retirement Community move-ins scheduled for these two California CCRC’s in the next 3 months…This has been the result of a good work ethic for the previous 3 months.
- 300 calls per month per sales person
- 20 tours per month per sales person
The sales will come when the work ethic is in place – trust me – it works.
Break the monthly goal down to a daily goal of 15 calls and one tour per day. A new senior living sales person can easily do it. A director of marketing with sales responsibilities can do it too.
In order for the two senior living sales teams to have this much success – they need to be backed by amazing operational teams that support marketing 100%:
- First, you need to have enough leads walking in the door and coming to events. Hopefully your corporation supports marketing with an adequate advertising budget.
- Do you enjoy a great reputation of serving excellent food? Our chef is a tremendous support to my teams and makes events and tours memorable.
- How is your health care reputation? Do the local hospitals and doctors recommend your assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care? If they don’t – fix it now!
- Guests need to drive up and see beautiful landscaping, a well cared for building and an ultra clean retirement community. It may be time to remodel if it’s been 10 years or looks tired.
- Friendly residents and smiling staff – these two can make or break sales and my communities have both!
- Can prospective senior residents SEE your residents having fun with an amazing calendar of events including regular live entertainment, exciting outings and themed meals? Seniors won’t move to a boring retirement community.
- Transportation can even increase sales by their willingness to pick up prospective residents and bring them in for a tour or an event.
So set a monthly sales goal for your retirement community and have everyone participate in achieving it. When the sales come, it is not for the glory of marketing, it’s an entire retirement community’s achievement. Everyone wins and the residents love having new vibrant seniors to connect with at dinner and activities.
Please share your success, failures or 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 Amazon.com. 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: email@example.com
Is 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 Amazon.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: www.marketing2seniors.net Blog: http://marketing2seniors.net/blog/