I’ve recently begun working with my first Continuing Care at Home (CCAH) client. Many CCRCs are looking hard at the CCAH concept as a strategy to expand their business and mission without the significant investment of traditional communities. A variety of models have been launched in recent years; however, most CCAHs satisfy consumers’ need to know who will provide for their future care (the sponsoring CCRC), and where it will be provided (in their home). The appeal is that a CCAH offers protection of assets, similar to LTC insurance or Life Care, without requiring you to move into a community.
While the concept clearly addresses a market segment – those consumers strongly averse to community living – it requires some thought before launching. A community seriously considering applying for a CCAH license to expand their mission should be certain it can protect their core product offering – the existing community. After all, the CCRC is providing the care for those individuals who become CCAH clients if and when they need care – so without the CCRC, there is no CCAH.
We all know how hard it is to get seniors to move out of their home. One of the primary ways sales counselors convince them to make that move is the rationale that it’s the only way they’ll have guaranteed access to the community’s continuum of care, from people they know and trust and at predictable rates, often much lower than market rates. Consider what a CCRC and a CCAH offered by the same organization sets up in the mind of the consumer. If you can get the exact same care and the same predictable/lower rates without leaving your home, why would you leave your home?
I believe the answer is the community lifestyle. If you aren’t leveraging your lifestyle and the benefits of living within the community in your marketing and sales process, you haven’t set yourself up for two successful core businesses. To truly expand your business, both the traditional community offering and the “at home” version must be strong, desirable and well-defined choices appealing to two different market segments.
The senior living prospect doesn’t always realize the benefit of the community lifestyle until they move in. It’s why they delay and delay. It’s the great challenge we all face each day – changing those perceptions. Perhaps that’s because we don’t emphasize community lifestyle enough in the sales process and in our advertising and marketing. We frequently focus on the plan for future health care as the primary reason to buy, even though we know it’s much larger than that. It’s just so very hard to convince them of it before they move in.
Finding new and inventive ways to authentically show our community lifestyles will help protect a community’s core offering, while allowing it to expand its services with the CCAH to those who weren’t previously interested.