Here's How to Help Families Narrow Down Their Senior Living Options
by McKenna Hogan, on Sep 18, 2019 9:00:00 AM
With so many senior housing communities to choose from, it can be difficult for prospective residents to narrow down their options. However, with the onslaught of new sales tools designed to cater to the needs of senior consumers, choosing a community has become much easier.
One of the most amazing adaptations of modern technology is that it can help individuals function outside of physical or time restraints. Many senior living strategies are shifting to offer technology solutions to seniors that help them narrow down their list.
Below, we discuss exactly how families can narrow down their senior living options even before they need to leave home for an in-person tour.
Helping Families Narrow Down Their Senior Living Options
With so many senior housing options and care types to choose from, a family’s search for the perfect place can be long and stressful. Seniors and their families must navigate through a complex process of narrowing down care options, needs, wants and costs. And much of that process is done with several in-person tours and meetings before finally settling on an option.
What if your community could help narrow down the options sitting in front of prospects and their families before even scheduling in-person tours? What if you could ease the process by saving them time and helping them feel more confident in their top choices?
A community that allows potential prospects to go through the entire sales cycle from the comfort of their own homes is going to be beneficial for both seniors and providers.
Because mobility is the most common disability among older Americans, offering a fully immersive website with digital content that addresses all their questions is pretty much a necessity.
These types of tools may include:
- Up-to-date photography
- 360 virtual tours
- Virtual meeting capabilities
- Renderings for developments
- Virtual staging
Not only are these types of tools important to shorten your sales cycle, but they’re also extremely helpful to prospective residents and their families.
Let’s Break This Down by Care Type
Because there are so many unique care types, certain one can benefit from specific content that is both beneficial to sales and marketing efforts and prospects.
“Senior living community” is actually more of a blanket term for an entire collection of different senior living options. Some communities are just future homes for older individuals to meet peers, while others may cater to specific mental or physical needs. Based on the type of community, different sales tools may need to be leveraged.
Below is a comprehensive list of senior housing communities that could leverage digital content designed to help prospects narrow their options.
1. Independent Living or Retirement Living
These communities are for older individuals looking for a place to settle down.
There are generally no clinical services so your sales efforts should really hone in on amenities and selling a lifestyle.
Independent living is among the most popular for seniors, considering that many cater to 55 and older active residents. The competition is high for independent living, so as you can imagine, the options are plentiful for seniors.
How to help prospects find the right independent community for them:
As a long-term care option, these individuals want to be sure they’re choosing the right place to settle down for a while. In addition, options are much wider for active 55 and older seniors, so even the decision to stay in their current home is still on the table. That’s where selling a lifestyle and the benefits of long-term retirement care can really play to your advantage.
Because of this, senior living providers will really want to ensure their community stands out as a great care option. With 73% of senior living searches starting with generic terms like “best senior living in…,” providers will want to ensure they have top notch resources and are positioning them correctly to seniors.
For example, leveraging a virtual tour and current photography of a community can provide transparency and the ability to stand out among other communities. Independent communities often have a handful of amenities, so a 360 tour on your website can give prospects an authentic full view of your offerings even from the comforts of home. Highlighting these ancillary services such as salons or restaurant partnerships will be a double thumbs up - something virtual tours can do really well.
Not only does this boost confidence, it further qualifies the prospect prior to their in-person tour.
2. Assisted Living
This option is also a long-term care provider, but a little more specific. Assisted living communities are for individuals that can’t completely live on their own, and may require some medical or physical assistance in day-to-day life. These communities have become more and more needed in senior housing, so options are also abundant.
In fact, the average monthly search volume for “assisted living near me” is 4,500 searches so the competition is fairly high. There are many tools that not only help your community stand out, but also cater to the needs of senior consumers.
How to help your assisted living community stand out?
Assisted living, much like independent living, can greatly benefit from virtual tours and photography. Since these individuals are more likely to face physical challenges, a virtual tour with mirroring technology bodes well for this community. Virtual mirroring capability allows someone on your sales team to guide prospects on a digital tour from any location. This is a great tool to help narrow options before scheduling any serious in-person tours.
In short, this will also allow potential prospects and their families to tour an entire community from home or a hospital while not having to worry about physically attending a tour at a community.
Also, consider out of state prospective residents. Perhaps they’re looking to move to an assisted living community closer to their children or need specific care that isn’t near them. Tools like virtual tours (or even virtual reality headsets for that matter) can really help put future residents in the space to walk around.
3. Memory Care Community
Memory care communities are strictly for individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia and require full-term care 24/7. Care becomes more specific for these individuals, and there are quite a few ways to help prospects and their families find the right community.
How to help your memory care community stand out?
Many of the above mentioned solutions are incredibly valuable for memory care. For instance, virtual tours actually benefit for memory recall - allowing families and their loved ones to explore your community again after visiting in-person. How many times have you visited a new apartment and wished you had taken a photo of an amenity or remembered the specific details of a room?
Additionally, memory care can benefit from virtual staging. Not only does type of content address the need to have more units available, but many memory care communities see residents frequently remove items from model units. Virtual staging essentially eliminates the need for model units. And if a community has empty model units, virtually-staged photos can be extremely enticing to prospects.
Real staging can be costly, but virtual staging is a cost-effective solution that can really pull users in with colorful decor and furnishings designed to attract prospects.
4. Skilled Nursing
Skilled nursing communities are intended for seniors who require ongoing medical assistance and 24-hour monitoring. These individuals typically suffer from serious injuries or severe illnesses like cardiac and respiratory diseases.
The challenge with skilled nursing is that, while there are many options out there, finding the right one can be problematic. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, many families and prospective residents seek out IL or AL communities, even if they need the specific services of skilled nursing. That’s often due to lack of knowledge about their skilled nursing options and the benefits.
So how do you help prospects narrow their skilled nursing options?
Skilled nursing is not a long-term option, which is why so many seniors stray from this care type. But there are seniors in need of this care. In most cases, it’s those skilled nursing prospects that can really benefit from an online virtual tour to help them feel confident during their search.
Additionally, similar to a hospital virtual tour, it can guide prospects through the types of rooms, care options and medical equipment used at the location.
The ability to view medical quarters provides ultimate transparency and comfort during that initial search.
Skilled nursing often has an unfavorable reputation, perhaps the best point of action would be professional photography - especially on the business’ Google My Business listing.
Because Google is an open forum, just about anyone can post deceiving photos that don’t exactly represent the location accurately. Needing that extra inch of trust, new and high quality photos will drown out any poor images, and it will take control of showing the community in the right light.
5. Adult Foster Home or Adult Care Home
A mixture of both retirement living and assisted living, adult foster homes are personalized communities that provide basic services in addition to assistance and daily activities.
The difference is that these communities are usually smaller neighborhood houses, only lodging a limited group of seniors.
How to help prospects discover if adult foster care is right for them:
As a small, personalized community, there’s a bit more specificity to the space. The individuals looking into a property like this will most likely have unique needs, and therefore like to view the community more in depth.
Not unlike the rest, adult foster homes will need content to completely cover the community. That means virtual tours and photography will provide the best experience for seniors and their loved ones. These care types don’t often leverage photos and visuals, so having these tools in your wheelhouse can really help families and case managers find the right option.
But keep in mind: because adult foster homes are often residential, a virtual tour could not live on Google, but there are other methods of providing unique content such as 360 videos or custom 360 tours.
6. Adult Day Care Centers
These centers are similar to any other daycare center, but for seniors. They intend to provide relief to family and loved ones while they tend to other tasks, such as work or travel.
Adult daycare centers urge companionship for older adults, while also providing assistance. Because adult children are usually in search of these short-term care centers, it’s important to keep in mind the best tactics to help them narrow their search.
Here’s how to do that:
Top Google searches for this care type include “dementia daycare near me” and “senior day programs near me.” You can bet many options appear in the results, so it’s up to care providers to narrow down the search and help families feel confident in their decision.
For instance, a Google Business listing embedded with outstanding photography along with an optimized website will be sure to stand out to potential prospects. Services are of utmost importance in this case, but seniors and their families will appreciate being assured the center is qualified through authentic photos.
With that being said, virtual tours for adult daycare centers can be extremely beneficial as well. Just like professional photography, a tour can provide more transparency and easier access for children who are searching, given that it’s a 24-hour open house.
7. Home Health Care
Lastly, home health care allows seniors to recover after receiving serious medical attention, such as a hospitalization. This type of care plan requires a skilled medical professional, like a registered nurse or physical therapist.
In many cases, these locations offer therapy on-site or at home and additional home care services in the short-term.
How to help prospects discover the right home health option:
Home health is a much more competitive service with many options to choose from. Bear in mind that 87% of adults 65+ want to age in place, so home health is a commonly sought after care option.
Photography and virtual tours - like this Google tour done for Encompass Health - can help potential prospects narrow down their search for home health services, and get a more accurate understanding of offerings, rooms, medical facilities and more.
Be where your audience is, and provide them the answers they need
Overall, digital content is going to be life changing for the many seniors that face obstacles trying to tour their future homes.
Keep in mind that 71% of seniors are online daily, while 75% use search engines for their senior living searches. They’re pretty active online as well as their family members. When it comes time to look for senior housing options or care services, give them the opportunity to refine their search - whether that’s through a well-designed website or a 360 walk-through highlighting your best amenities.
Be courteous to senior consumers and their families and make the sales cycle not only more efficient, but shorter as well with new and improved digital marketing tools.
For more information on digital content, click here.