Traditionally, much of the senior living industry has been marketed directly towards seniors themselves. It makes sense: the choice to relocate is theirs, and where they choose to go is their decision. But have you ever thought about who may be helping them reach those decisions?
A recent study conducted by Care.com showed that only about 10% of seniors research and plan for senior care by themselves. The other 90% get help from their adult children. That’s not to say that adult children are the sole decision-makers, however. About 70% of seniors surveyed said that they were involved in making arrangements alongside their adult children. Surprisingly, the number of children involved in seeking care for their parents has not risen or dropped drastically in the past 20 years. So what can senior living companies learn from this study?
First, it’s important not to forget about any of the parties involved. Focusing entirely on the potential resident may make adult children feel like their needs aren’t being met, resulting in dissatisfaction from the start. Seniors are also typically more likely to underestimate the amount of care they need, so forgetting about adult children may be a mistake that ends up in improper placement for the adult. On the other hand, focusing only on the adult child results in an awful feeling for most seniors, as they prefer to take an active role in their living choices. Children also tend to focus more on financial and locational factors, which may mean that things like leisure activities, food choices, and overall culture of the facility may not be on par with what their parents really desire.
Second, companies should realize that seniors and their children often have very different communication methods, research habits, and marketing preferences. This means you need a diverse marketing strategy.
For example, adult children do most of their research on the Internet, unlike their parents, who are used to talking on the phone. To capture both audiences, you need both a phone inquiry processing strategy and an online strategy, such as a section of your website devoted to adult children, a blog, or a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Another key difference between seniors and their children is the types of information they search for. Seniors put a high level of importance on amenities, while children focus on reviews, location, and price. Structuring your marketing materials to reflect these two different, but equally important, aspects of your business will ensure all bases are covered and both parties are satisfied with the information presented to them.
At the end of the day, senior living firms must consider both seniors and their adult children when implementing their marketing and sales strategy. Despite the fact that the two populations research and process information differently, in the end they make their decisions together. Your senior living marketing strategy should reflect that.
ALFA. Reaching the adult children of senior living: The next gatekeepers
Independa. Should you be marketing to adult children?
Sage Age Strategies. Adult children: Senior living’s key target market?
Senior Housing News. Marketers zero in on adult children in senior living