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Words Matter

GlynnDevins was my first job out of college in 1999. Like most 20-somethings, I didn’t understand senior housing.

But I learned quickly that, in marketing, our words and statements make a difference in how seniors and their families perceive the product and services we offer.

Facility was and is the “f-word.” Residents live in a residence, suite, villa, cottage, garden home or apartment home, not a bed or unit. These are called move-ins, because admissions only happen in a hospital setting.

Today, when I hear of a friend looking for a memory support neighborhood for their grandmother, and my in-laws considering an independent living community, it feels like just maybe consumers are starting to get it right too.

At the community level, it’s music to my ears when residents choose life enrichment programs to fill their days, and when they say senior living counselors helped them through the process of making a major life decision.

If their residence style isn’t available, they join a future residents list, because it’s better to anticipate their future at a community than to wait to enjoy it after they move in.

Looking forward, one of my clients had no hesitation adopting Life Plan Community to replace Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). Others are choosing to wait and see. Regardless, it’s exciting to see how marketing is evolving to create a better industry brand.

So as you’re talking to seniors, older adults, individuals or people, but never the elderly, remember that nursing homes and facilities are a thing of the past.

However, senior living communities that offer life-enriching wellness opportunities and a plan for life are evolving with our consumers’ expectations.

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