Tips for Positive PR in Senior Living and Alzheimer’s Wins

Tips for Positive PR in Senior Living and Alzheimer’s Wins

Freedom Village Residents and Staff Walking at Alzheimer's OC in Laguna Niguel.

Freedom Village Residents and Staff Walking at Alzheimer’s OC in Laguna Niguel.

Here are some simple tips to create positive Public Relations for your senior living community by supporting your local Alzheimer’s Walk.

First, Freedom Village in Lake Forest, California  brainstormed on how to raise money for the Alzheimer’s OC Walk by involving residents and staff.

Second, Freedom Village had two fundraisers:

  1. A staff talent show for the residents.  The Human Resources Director organized the the talent show and the Activity Director invited the residents.  The admission ticket was any donation to Alzheimer’s.   Both the dress rehearsal at the all staff meeting and the main show for the residents were full houses.
  2. The Sunshine Group at Freedom Village had been making adult coloring placemats for skilled nursing resident’s food trays.  Select drawings were shrunk down, shellacked onto tiles and sold in four packs with stickers notating the resident artist.

Third, residents, staff and a Girl Scout troop proudly arrived at the walk wearing “Freedom to Thrive” T-shirts.

PR results of Freedom Village participating in the Alzheimer’s OC Walk in Laguna Niguel:

  1. Raising $4,620 and becoming the top fundraising team.
  2. Winning the Spirit Award!
  3. Being featured on the front page of two local newspapers: Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel.
  4. The Community Relations Director was interviewed on local TV discussing the walk.

This is a simple recipe for PR success, but it took a lot of teamwork.  This project was overseen by a very creative community relations director, Stephanie Riggs.

What are your ideas?

More free tips about marketing senior living are available through the marketing 2 seniors blog.  Diane Masson has authored two books about senior living: Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full for professionals and Your Senior Housing Options for seniors who want to plan ahead and family members scrambling in crisis mode.

Develop Talent – Invest in Yourself and Your Team!

Develop Talent – Invest in Yourself and Your Team!

  • Great book to review for senior living teams!

    Great book to review for senior living teams!

    Do you study how to improve your talent in senior living?

  • Are you improving your mind on a regular basis?
  • What books are you reading to improve your attitude?
  • Do you have time to take a lunch?
  • Are you scheduling rejuvenation time?

Or is it easier to say, “I am too busy!” And you work through lunch again?

Burnt out employees in senior living can become cranky and irritable. It can affect the quality of service to senior residents.  The grouchiness can wash into home life too.

Do yourself a favor and invest in yourself and your team.

Start a new book review with your senior living sales or operations team. Read one chapter a week or two chapters a month. Select a book and have each person apply the principles in each chapter to his or her senior living position.

One of my teams is reading, “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.” Its focus is written for retirement communities, but the principles can easily be converted to assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care communities. Feedback from teams on a nationwide basis has insisted this book has helped their occupancy grow.

My sales teams are currently reading, “How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling,” and, “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” book has you read a scroll three times a day for one month before you move onto the subsequent scroll with the next principle. This is the third time in my life reading this book daily for 10 months. Each time it changed my life in a positive significant way.

Start growing yourself and your team! Watch your attitude soar! The occupancy will follow in an upward direction. It is guaranteed!

Diane Masson has worked in senior housing for 18 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 5-star ratings on

Summary Video of “Your Senior Housing Options!”

Here’s a quick summary of “Your Senior Housing Options,” including the costs and consequences from It walks you through a dementia scenario including all the choices for a vulnerable senior. This video can empower an independent senior to plan ahead or help an adult child put their parent in a quality senior community.

Seniors Getting Squeezed

Seniors Getting Squeezed

Your Senior Housing OptionsWhat should this senior couple do? They sold their home that they could not manage any more and decided to move into an independent rental retirement community in Orange County, California. The couple has an income of $3,600 a month, but their monthly rent is $5,200. (The senior couple’s rent includes three meals a day, wellness classes, entertainment, housekeeping, transportation and etc.) So $1,600 is taken out of their savings for rent on a monthly basis, plus they still have to pay for telephone, Internet, hair styling, car bills, pharmaceuticals, insurances and possibly even gifts and travel.

This senior couple is just one example. Their plight is not uncommon. Thousands of seniors are concerned that their meager savings are eroding too quickly. 

What happens when a senior needs assisted living? How will they afford it? What if one of them has a debilitating stroke and needs long-term skilled nursing? On a nationwide basis, it averages $80,000 a year.

Are you aware that board and care homes in Orange County California recently went up $1,000 to $1,500 a month because of the increase to minimum wage? Board and cares are the least expensive options for seniors needing assisted living type care. How will seniors afford the care now?

Social security is not increasing for seniors in 2016.

Costs for independent living, assisted living, memory care and Continuing Care Retirement Communities will continue to rise as food, utilities and minimum wage goes up. Most of these retirement communities are saddled with a 50 to 100 million mortgage. The residents will be making those interest payments too.

Here’s a tip: Ask what the history of the year-over-year monthly fee increases have been. What will it be in 2016? Some predictions are 5 – 8 percent increases? What have you heard?

It is getting tougher for seniors to make decisions and plan for their future.

Here’s another tip: Sometimes that one time investment at a Continuing Care Retirement Community ends up costing you less in the long run. Figure out the break-even point for you. Many offer you support if you outlive your resources. Ask lots of questions and do not rely on verbal promises of senior living sales people.

News Flash: Diane Masson’s new interview on Generation Bold Radio will broadcast on Sunday, December 6th on the BizTalkRadio Network syndicated to 33 stations across the country.  

Diane Masson is a senior living expert who has authored two 5-star rated books sold through Amazon. Her new book is an all-encompassing answer guide for seniors called, “Your Senior Housing Options,” designed to help seniors navigate choices quickly. The second book was written for senior living professionals called, Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full. Reach out to her through her website: and read the weekly blog.

Tips for an Alzheimer’s or Dementia Care Conference

Tips for an Alzheimer’s or Dementia Care Conference

You know who they once were better than anyone! Be the best advocate you can be!

You know who they once were better than anyone! Be the best advocate you can be!

Here are some tough statements that family members can hear at an Alzheimer’s or dementia care conference for their loved one (who might be residing in assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing care):

  • She can’t direct her own care…
  • Is regularly disoriented…
  • Needs full help with bathing and dressing…
  • She can become frustrated…
  • Can be resistant to care…
  • Does not always remember to use her walker…

It can proceed into an in-depth conversation about the ability of your loved one’s communication:

  • She is not very verbal…
  • She has improved in the last four months from not speaking at all (because she was still coming off of the psychotropic medications) to being a little more verbal.
  • The staff has to use phrases or questions that are seven words or less to create less confusion for her.
  • The staffs’ goal is to elicit a “yes” or “no” response, so she can make choices.

Then a group discussion can proceed about who she can still recognize and if she can still call anyone by name (this is tough one):

  • Does she recognize you?
  • She thinks her daughter is her sister.

How much food is or is not consumed?

Our family has experienced witnessing continual weight loss of my mother-in-law for 10 months. She is eating 50% of her food, but can pop out of her chair and start wandering sporadically while dining. She walks almost continually. The staff have problem solved this by feeding her in the country kitchen instead of the dining room to increase her food intake.

What should you ask in a care conference? Don’t be intimidated; no one knows your loved one better than you. Be his or her advocate to the best of your ability.

  • Find out exactly what medication they take and why. Sometimes they were given a medication like a psychotropic in the hospital and no one is paying attention to the fact it is not necessary anymore.
  • How much exercise or movement do they experience? Staying mobile is important.
  • Inquire about live entertainment. Your loved one may be refusing to go to live entertainment and you know they love music. The only reason they may be refusing is because they can’t HEAR the caregiver asking them to go. Maybe the caregiver needs to speak up or…
  • Ask about music therapy. It can be very affective for dementia and Alzheimer’s. If they tried it once and it was refused, try again. Every day is a new day. Seniors with dementia (such as my mom) can be more receptive and oriented in the morning.
  • How much food do they eat? Maybe they are not eating because they have lost teeth (this happened to my mom)? Food adjustments can be made.

Is there anyone else out there dealing with a parent who has dementia? It is not easy. What tips can you share?

Diane Masson advocated for her mom who had dementia for nine years and her mother-in-law currently lives in a memory care community. Diane writes a Tips2Seniors blog every week and published a book to take the guess work out selecting senior housing before, during or after a health care crisis, “Your Senior Housing Options.” She has worked in senior housing for 17 years and her first book, “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” is helping senior housing professionals on a nationwide basis.