Is Visiting Your Senior Living Community Like Going to the Dentist?

Is Visiting Your Senior Living Community Like Going to the Dentist?

vecortoons07222013024-copyIt can be so simple to alleviate someone’s fear by giving a simple explanation of what to expect in the coming minutes or hour.  If you skip this simple step at your senior living community – learn what can happen.

Yesterday, I was at the dentist for a routine crown.  I received a crown 20 years ago and had no bad memories or fears coming to the appointment.   Once I signed that I would pay for the crown, there was zero explanation of what would happen next…

It was tough hearing, feeling and smelling procedures in my mouth with zero knowledge of the reason.  Could he have not taken a moment for some quick explanations to elevate the fear of the unknown?  The dentist did warn me about the pounding that was about to come.  That was my only warning.  He asked me to open up and bite down on something squishy, then he just walked away and left me.  What was in my mouth and why?  Well it turned out to be a crown mold that needed to set in my mouth for 8 minutes.  When the dentist came back, I had pretty much made a decision to never go to this dentist again.

When a prospective senior resident arrives at your senior living community, they can have fears.  A senior can fear being sold, giving up his or her home of 40 years, change in lifestyle, losing the size or view of the current home, downsizing, moving, mortality, being accepted by other residents, losing control and etc.

Simply take two minutes before touring a prospective senior resident and share what can happen on the visit.  Then ask for his or her permission to proceed.  Watch them visibly relax before your eyes.

Maybe you say something like, “Today, you will have an opportunity to learn what our retirement community (assisted living, skilled nursing care, memory care or Continuing Care Retirement Community) has to offer and to see if this community could possibly be an option for you in your future.  Why don’t we take a few minutes to determine what is most important for you to learn today and then I can determine what areas of the community to show you first.  This will save you a lot of time.  My goal will be to answer all your questions as we tour the community and see a model home.  When you leave today, I will give you a brochure with all the floor plans and pricing included.  How does that sound to you?”

Relaxed seniors buy and stressed seniors go to the next senior living community who will relax them.  What do you say or do to relax your perspective residents at the beginning of a walk-in tour or appointment?

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 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.

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