Getting Ahead of the Curve of Senior Living Attrition

Getting Ahead of the Curve of Senior Living Attrition

Senior Housing MarketingEvery organization approaches goals a little differently.  Some senior living communities set sales and occupancy goals that are never achieved.   Each month and year the occupancy dips a little lower with constant resident attrition.  How do you get ahead of the curve?

Well, someone needs to create a sales and marketing strategic plan for your individual independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care or Continuing Care Retirement Community.  The plan needs to be implemented and every sales person and operational team member needs to be on board.  The focus should be on the simultaneous goals of serving the existing residents and increasing the occupancy with new move-ins.

There are twelve keys that I have developed to increase the occupancy of all types of senior housing.  Some keys can be implemented immediately for quick results and other keys are a process that can take some time to develop and execute.   The bottom line is these twelve keys work and it is my joy to reach 100% occupancy.  Here are the keys in a nutshell; the details are contained in my book called Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full:

Key 1 – Attitude toward Occupancy – Turn Your Change into Dollars

  • Occupancy-driven Marketing Reports that will Wow Your CFO

Key 2 – Quit Blabbing! Control the Flow of Information

  • Tip: Five Steps to Controlling the Flow of Information
  • Decreasing Apartment Availability
  • Create Urgency for the Wait List

Key 3 – Dare to Differentiate Yourself from Your Competition

  • Keep the Waiting List FULL through Branding

Key 4 – Do You Have Proactive or Reactive Marketing?

  • Effective Follow-Up Inquiry Goals
  • The Typical Behavior of the Average Prospective Resident
  • Follow Up – When and How Much?

Key 5 – Building Value for Your Community – Giving a Wow Experience!

  • “How much does an apartment cost?”
  • Let them push up the price point

Key 6 – Great Events can fill Your Building

  • What is the timing of an effective program?
  • Step-By-Step Event Planner Guidelines

Key 7 – Never Say to the Customer…

  • Use health services words that add value and differentiate you from the competition!

Key 8 – Selling to Personalities

  • Are you selling to their personality type—or yours?

Key 9 – Hard or Soft Closing?

  • Hot Buttons
  • Objections
  • Recognizing Buying Questions
  • Types of Closes
  • Make Urgency!

Key 10 – Internal Customers – no need to worry about them, right? Wrong!

Key 11 – Join the Twenty-first Century with your Website, E-mail Blasts, and Social Media

  • How can you save money building a website?
  • “I just don’t have time to be responsible for social media…”

Key 12 – Media Buying, Public Relations, and Community Relations with a Skinny Piggy Bank

  • Keeping the costs affordable in the marketing plan
  • The magic three to build attendance at an event

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.
Surprise Visit to my Mom’s Skilled Nursing Care

Surprise Visit to my Mom’s Skilled Nursing Care

Surprise Visit to my Mom's Skilled NursingI 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.
The Most Special Name in Skilled Nursing Care

The Most Special Name in Skilled Nursing Care

The Most Special Name in Skilled Nursing CareWhat is your favorite word in the English language?  It is probably your own name.  When a senior gets to the point of living in assisted living or skilled nursing care – his or her memory is most likely failing.  So the most magical word they can hear is their own name.

Recently I was blown away at the Freedom Village Healthcare Center in California.  My mom has lived there for about 2 months.   When I walked down the hall with my mom, every single staff person spoke to her with a smile.  They either said her first name or her last name “Mrs. Twohy.”  Then they would share some encouraging statement.  It was not just one or two staff.  We literally ran into about 14 staff on our walk and each made my mom feel special.  She smiled back at each one and it was wonderful to see her joy.

After having lunch with my mom and family in the outdoor fountain courtyard, my brother was taking my mom back inside and a staff person pointed at my brother’s hat and said, “Your name is on your hat.”  My brother was so surprised.  It took him a moment to realize that that this person knew his last name – Twohy, because our mom lives there in skilled nursing care.

So the staff not only makes my mom feel special everyday, but reach out to family members as well.  Noticing “Twohy” on my brother’s hat goes above and beyond and created a real “wow” for my family.  It showed me that every employee is committed to calling the residents by name and I was impressed!  Do staff in your skilled nursing care, assisted living, memory care and even independent living know every single resident’s first and last names?  Why not have a contest, so they can get rewarded for learning names today.

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 is required reading at George Mason University as part of the marketing curriculum.  She is currently consulting with 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: diane@marketing2seniors.net

Ready for Boomers Texting Your Food?

Ready for Boomers Texting Your Food?

Long-term care foodMy husband Chris and I received this unappetizing text, with a photo of food, from our friend Dave in rehab.  This was the text:

Chris:  How are you, what are you doing?

Dave:  Nothing, this is my meal…

Chris:  That looks horrible.

Dave:  Yeah tell me about it.  This tastes as good as it looks – which is terrible.

Diane:  Which rehab are you at?

Dave:  XXXX in Federal Way, WA.

Diane:  The food looks disgusting, I am so sorry, how have the other meals been?

Dave:  Just as bad…

Would I ever recommend this place to anyone based on this photo – no way!  Get ready for the boomers texting their meals to their other boomer friends.

Institutional food is a thing of the past.  Most retirement communities offer chef prepared meals now.  The boomers have a discriminating palette and won’t tolerate bad food.

Are you proud of the food you are serving at your Rehab, Skilled Nursing Center, Healthcare Center, Long-term Care Facility, Assisted Living, Independent Living, Memory Care or Continuing Care Retirement Community?  Would you eat it?

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 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: diane@marketing2seniors.net

Is There A Strawberry On Your Plate – In Senior Living?

Is There A Strawberry On Your Plate – In Senior Living?

A strawberry can be a "wow"On my recent flight to Seattle, I had the most plain Jane lunch plate presentation ever in first class.  It was literally a sandwich on the plate.  Seriously?!!?  No chips, cut up fruit, piece of parsley, a piece of lettuce with a tomato – nothing!  The stark whiteness of the plate surprised me.  Then I started thinking, why didn’t they at least put a nice red strawberry on the plate like they used to – what happened?  Is Alaska Airlines cutting costs?  How much could twelve strawberries cost?  My impression of food in first class was not a “Wow” experience.

Has your senior living community cut too many operational costs too?  Could it be affecting the first impressions of your community and keeping the occupancy down?  Are you serving guests refreshments in real glasses or china?  Or have you cut refreshments out all together or serve them in cheap syrofoam?  Are there fresh flowers in the lobby?  As you walk down the halls, are the walls streaked black from walkers and electric carts?  Have the corner edges and doorways of apartments been banged and dented from electric carts?  When was the last time you refurbished the lobby?  Is the furniture getting old and tattered?

Marketing directors and sales people cannot work miracles!  If your occupancy is down, invest in some “Wow Strawberries” to make a great first impression!  It keeps your current residents and family members thinking positively about the retirement community.  Happy residents can mean lots of referrals.

A chef in one of my Continuing Care Retirement Communities said, “The very first bite is always with the eyes.”  When lunch or dinner plates are served in your senior living community dining room, what do they look like?  Are they a “wow?”

The details make the difference…can you afford 12 strawberries?

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 diane@marketing2seniors.net.  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/