Worried Sick 1000 Miles Away (part 1)

Worried Sick 1000 Miles Away (part 1)

Bill and Amy in 2012

Bill and Amy in 2012

Aging parent’s decisions can drive us crazy or make us sick. When a parent with dementia stubbornly chooses to stay home, it can be heart breaking for the adult children. Watching a senior’s vitality fade is hard enough. But for an adult child to witness a parent’s poor hygiene, lack of nutrition by eating frozen dinners (not fresh food) and to see the absence of good judgment is tough and sad.

Some of us never get sick. Yet here I am, literally worried sick about my in-laws. A month ago my father-in-law, Bill, had a heart attack. My mother-in-law, Amy, with dementia was left alone for the majority of three days and nights as the local children rallied around the dad at the hospital. They did make sure she had food and medications. My husband and I hired a geriatric nurse to evaluate and help Amy. The nurse was to be our eyes and ears, since we live 1000 miles away. By the time the nurse intervened, Amy had become psychotic and had trouble recognizing her own children.

To make a long story short – my father-in-law never wanted to move to a retirement community or assisted living. He actually told my husband and I (working in the senior living business) that he understood that he would be waiting for a health crisis.

Well a crisis is one parent in the hospital and we had two. Over the last month, Bill improved enough to graduate from the hospital, to rehabilitating in skilled nursing care, to living permanently with his adult daughter in her home. He was told by professionals that he could no longer be Amy’s caregiver (he had been her caregiver for five years) and would need help for himself 24-hours a day. Pneumonia and a fall preceded the heart attack and now he has trouble catching his breath if he overexerts himself in any way and can’t remember to take his own medications because of dementia.

Let me fast forward on Amy’s simultaneous crisis. Amy’s Alzheimer’s prevented her from grasping that her husband of 65 years was in the hospital. She eloped (I think she walked away to search for her missing husband and ultimately the police found her) and hit a nurse in her confusion and anxious state. The police took her to the hospital and she resided in the emergency room for two days because they did not have a bed in the locked area. This is the part I don’t even want to imagine because I know they must have had to sedate her completely because she was an elopement risk.

A week later, both the skilled nursing community where Bill was getting rehab and the hospital where Amy resided wanted to discharge them simultaneously. The local children said that was impossible and they had to be discharged one at a time. So Bill was released first. Our goal was to have Amy placed in a quality secured memory care by the end of the next week. That week ended two days ago on Friday. Now it’s a holiday weekend and she is stuck in a locked psych ward in a hospital. Amy could have been discharged on Friday afternoon. The injustice of it all has made me sick. Next week I will share why Amy was not released – you will be shocked and disgusted.

Diane Masson’s new guide book for seniors, “Your Senior Housing Options,” will be will be coming soon to Amazon.com. If you sign up for my weekly newsletter on the right side of this blog, you will be notified when my new book becomes available. Check out my new website: Tips2Seniors.com or please follow me on Facebook.

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.  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.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2015 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.
Quick tip to fill memory care – don’t use voicemail!

Quick tip to fill memory care – don’t use voicemail!

No VoicemailWhich scenario describes your senior living community? I called three memory care communities in Seattle and got very different responses.

Community A – answered the phone in two rings. I shared my need to find immediate placement for my mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s. Their memory care was 100% full with a waiting list. Sandy was extremely helpful and suggested another community. Special shout out and thanks to Sandy! It is no surprise that you are full.

Community B – answered the phone within two rings, but mumbled something to me. I asked them to repeat it, because I did not understand one word. Then I shared my situation. The person said they would put me through to someone who would help me. Suddenly I was in a voicemail box. What? I left a full crisis message with my name and number. They have not called me back and it has been five days.

Community C – answered the phone within three rings. They heard my crisis story and said the person I needed to speak to was not available but they would text them regarding this emergency. The lady on the phone promised me that they would call me back that day. The admissions person called me back within an hour and we started working on a plan of action for my mother-in-law.

This is a real situation for my family to place my mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s immediately.

Congratulations to all three communities in Seattle, WA who all answered their phones within a couple of rings. Community B, put me through to a voicemail when I was in crisis mode. Are you kidding me? That is heartless. Take my name and number and have a real person call me back as soon as possible. The majority of people hang up when pushed into voicemail. Don’t use it.

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.  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.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2014 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.
Customer Service Heaven or Hell?

Customer Service Heaven or Hell?

Customer Service Heaven or HellHave you begun to wonder what happened to quality customer service?  I have been through some bad experiences lately and then suddenly I had a “Wow” customer experience yesterday.

In the last week, I had two shopping returns.  One was an item I purchased on Amazon.com.  It has taken eight emails back and forth with the seller and ultimately I felt penalized.  I received a product that did not fit and was not as pictured on Amazon.  They claimed I ordered the wrong one.  Sigh…  My second return was an Origami Owl locket.  Two of the crystals had fallen out and my church friend distributer had discontinued her business.  Was I out of luck?  NO!  I called the company and they immediately said they would send me a replacement!  I thanked them for a “Wow” experience!  It was the easiest return of my year!

How is the customer service experience at your senior living community?

  • Do you have a process to check back with a new move-in?  Is someone designated to check with the new senior resident three or four times in the first week, just to make sure they are acclimating and everything is as promised?  Or do you wait for them to complain?  Or are you too busy?
  • If someone has a concern are they able to talk to administrator in a timely fashion?
  • How quickly is the response time for a maintenance request?
  • What happens if housekeeping accidentally breaks an item?
  • If an adult child has a concern about their mom or dad is it addressed immediately?
  • What if someone says their soup is cold or they don’t like the entrée?

Your tips could help others improve on a national basis, so please share by commenting on this blog.  If this weekly newsletter can help your sales and occupancy – why not sign up today so you don’t miss a single one? 

Diane Twohy Masson writes this weekly blog to support and engage with other senior housing professionals.  Her first book is Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.  Many sales teams and organizations have used the 12 keys contained in this book for their weekly book review.  Diane is working on her second book to help seniors select their senior housing options.

 

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2014 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.
12 Sales No No’s and Timeshare Fiasco

12 Sales No No’s and Timeshare Fiasco

Lawrence Welk Resort Timeshare

Welk Resort in Escondido, CA

I was a sucker to think it would be fun for my husband and I to go on a timeshare presentation at the Lawrence Welk Resort.  My Auntie watched Lawrence Welk every week when I was little.  It was supposed to be a fabulous place and seniors from two of my Continuing Care Retirement Communities go there regularly for performances.  Our promised gift for participating in a 90 presentation was going to a trip for two to Catalina Island.

Well here are the 12 sales no no’s that happened:

  • Promising that the appointment would be 90 minutes and then almost doubling the time.
  • Asking us to arrive early and then making us wait.
  • Pushing a person for personal information in a non-genuine or unnatural manner.  (This is so uncomfortable!)
  • Not listening!
  • Giving a canned speech with a pitch type voice.
  • Sharing long boring stories and wasting our time.
  • Giving a promise that the company cannot fulfill.
  • After not listening, asking a closing question, when there was nothing to close on.  (This is so wrong!)
  • Failing to give us the promised gift.
  • Lying.
  • Trapping us in several closing sequences, because a golf cart was required to return us to our far off parking spot.
  • Making me feel like a number.

The appointment was almost three hours instead of the promised 90 minutes.  They persisted in a quest for our personal information (very awkward) without sharing the facts of their offering in a timely fashion.  They absolutely never listened and it was all a canned speech.  The worst is having someone try to close you, when there is zero interest.  You might be thinking, Diane, just leave.  There is no way to leave early because they force you to park your car in an area that requires a golf cart to return to it.  If all of that was not bad enough, the promised gift to Catalina was a lie.  I prequalified two people that our trip could be on a weekend.  The mail away certificate was for mid-week only.

So I sent an email explaining my disappointment and that I would be writing a blog post that 1000’s of people would view.  I figured they would call me immediately and rectify the situation.  How could Lawrence Welk Resorts possible sell all those timeshares treating people in this unsavory manner?

Ultimately, a timeshare fiasco can make a senior suspicious of real genuine sales people in senior housing.  How many times has a senior walked into your senior living community with his or her arms crossed?  Do you enjoy watching a senior open up midway through a “wow tour?”

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 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.  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.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2014 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.
How Do You Unfreeze a Frozen Senior?

How Do You Unfreeze a Frozen Senior?

Unfreezing a Frozen Senior

After a senior has been diagnosed with a progressive disease such as macular degeneration of the eyes, the onset of blindness, dementia, brain tumor, stroke, cancer, etc. – one of two things can happen:

  1. The senior gets their affairs in order and prepares for someone to care for them when they no longer can.
  2. They go into denial.

As a senior’s disease progresses they may come and tour at your community or mine.  It is very difficult to know that this senior may be in an unsafe situation in his or her home.  I think it affects each of us who are caring professionals in the senior housing industry.  Yet, the senior refuses to bring in help to their home or move to retirement or assisted living community.  It becomes even harder when the adult children are extremely worried.  They may be begging you to talk his or her parent into moving into your senior living community.

I believe the biggest reason this type of senior does nothing is because they are only living in the moment instead of recognizing the potential hazards of their health deteriorating further.

What can we do to unfreeze seniors who may be at risk?

  • Ask great questions
  • Find out why they decided to tour your community today
  • Inquire about what is most important for them
  • Help them recognize they have a challenge
  • Try to have them vocalize their plan for when they can no longer take care of themselves
  • Educate them on potential future outcomes

As a professional senior living expert, who has the best interests of the senior at heart, what have you said or done to help unfreeze a senior?

Please share your 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 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.  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.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2014 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.
Are You Enabling Senior Prospects to Stay Home?

Are You Enabling Senior Prospects to Stay Home?

"I'm not ready yet!"

“I’m not ready yet!”

Scenario One:  The senior prospect says, “I am not ready yet.”  And you say, “Okay!”  You might even try to call them a second or third time, but you get the same answer and give up.  So you schedule a call out for six months or a year.

Scenario Two:  The senior prospect says, “I am not ready yet.”  And you say, “Okay!”  Then you change tactics and start inviting them to events or a lunch at your senior living community instead of expecting them to make a decision to move over the phone.  You schedule an invitational call every couple weeks or once a month.

You can’t sell someone over the phone.

Are you trying to sell a senior over the phone?  Nobody is ever ready to move, particularly a senior who tends to live in the present moment.  Quit enabling seniors to live at home, by giving up on them or believing the “I’m Not Ready Yet” mantra.

Instead, do everything in your power to get them to come for an enjoyable visit that holds no pressure.  If you pressurize them over the phone, every time you call, it makes people cling to their armchair a little harder and not leave the house.

How about gently pulling them to an entertainment event, a luncheon or an outing with the residents.  Remember that most seniors are lonely and will venture out if you are not going to pressurize them.

Every senior that DECIDES to move has to determine for himself or herself that they will gain more by living in your retirement community than what they will give up in their precious home.  Sometimes it just takes patience and persistance.

Please share your 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 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.  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.

© 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.