The recent pandemic of Covid-19 has caused numerous problems in society, one of those being consumer confidence when looking for senior living. Glynn Devins, based in Missouri, said operators would need to do some “heavy work.”
However, research results from this marketing company have shown that there is hope in an industry that is full of uncertainty.
Susan Bogan, chief customer officer of GlynnDevins, said that senior life operators should view the COVID-19 situation as a marathon rather than a sprint, and the community needs to be prepared and “tilted” to remain successful.
The main results of the company research shared in the webinar on Thursday showed that the residential communities of the elderly are still operating and accepting relocation. Senior vice president of insight and strategy, Bryan Herrman, said that occupancy rates still are expected to be relatively optimistic, with 84% of independent living communities still accepting occupancy, compared with 69% of assisted living/memory care communities.
The data also shows that the community faces technical challenges. Although the community switched to other methods of communication for necessity, more than one-third of the respondents said they struggled with the purchase fees of employees, residents, and potential residents. On the other hand, older people who accept technology see it as a way to stay at home.
Lisa Legeer, senior vice president of strategic partnerships, said that the community not only needs to sell the safety aspects of the elderly’s living environment but also needs to sell the benefits of community life.
Glynn Devins executives cited trend information from the National Investment Center’s Senior Housing and Care Investment Center’s survey of executives, saying the industry shows that the declining occupancy rate is due to a reduction in school bans. At the same time, residents or families have an older life to have more concerns.
Legg had said that housing is one of the biggest competitors for senior living. Covid-19 was just another interruption.
In general, the confidence level is low, and the number of seniors considering their lives has declined. Herrman said the data shows that the older the consumer, the lower the mood and confidence.
These are some sobering numbers:
46% of the elderly are unlikely to consider moving to an independent living community; in contrast, 51% of the elderly will consider choosing life/memory care.
53% of family members are unlikely to transfer their relatives to independent life, compared with 57% of family members considering providing assisted life/memory care for their loved ones.
During the health crisis, 45% of consumers believe that an independent living community is less secure than at home. In comparison, 50% believe that assisted living/memory care communities are less stable.
There are regional differences in emotion and confidence. In these respects, the Northeast region is generally higher, while the West and Midwest regions are lower.
In this crisis of trust, communities need to adopt different messaging methods and use various media to communicate their stories. Herman said that treating potential residents like checking in instead of marketing calls is very helpful in building relationships.
Bogen said the community needs to establish a consumer-centric plan to satisfy consumers in their area. The marketing and sales plan used for three years, three months, or even three weeks ago cannot be used today. She said it comes down to providing a continuous experience across multiple platforms and interactions.
Legeer advises the leadership to conduct a technical review and understand the tools that the marketing team needs to succeed, use data to make real-time decisions, and prepare for the ongoing crisis.
“Build relationships with current potential customers. You are still selling and moving among residents, especially in independent life.” Legeer said. “Follow people who already exist in the database. Try to interact with them and family with meaningful content and establish more personalized connections.”
Herman said: “This tells us that the industry has a lot of work to do in the future.” He said that now is the time to rebuild trust, emotion, and confidence. “It will make a huge effort in all levels of care, ages, and regions.”
Legg said: “In this crisis, the community that is continuously innovating and developing will be stronger and more successful than the community without crisis.
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