A Tale of Two Parents
Betty and John are both 74 and live in the three-story home where they raised their four children. All but one live out of state. For about the past six months, Betty has noticed that John struggles with chores around the house, and just last week, Betty tripped over a mat and fell, bruising her right knee and hip.
Betty’s daughter, Kathy, lives a three hours’ drive from her parents. Her work and family commitments make moving closer to her parents impossible. Kathy has already started searching online: she knows it’s time for a change in living arrangements before mom or dad gets seriously hurt. She’s planning a visit next weekend to start the conversation with her parents, and share what she’s learning about senior living communities.
Who’s Really Calling the Shots?
This situation is being played out across the country by millions of parents and their adult children. In fact, a whopping 73% of the time, the children of prospects are actively involved in their parents’ senior living choices. And an overwhelming 71% of those adult children are daughters, just like Kathy.
Understanding the critical role adult daughters play as gatekeepers is essential to effectively marketing your senior living community. This is even more critical now: in the last ten years, the percentage of daughters’ participation has risen more than five percent.
So an adult daughter like Kathy is not only likely to be the one doing the research and influencing the prospects’ decision, she is also usually the first one to reach out to a senior living community.
Don’t Forget About Mom!
Of course, it’s important to address the concerns of the actual prospect. Don’t make the same mistake as the marketing VP for a senior living community who focused on the daughter to the exclusion of the mother. No wonder mom got ticked off and chose another community!
Letting both the senior living persona and the needs of the adult daughter shape and guide your marketing strategy puts awareness of complex behaviors and feelings arising from this transition front and center. In short, make sure everyone—daughter and mom and dad—gets the attention, collateral, and focus they deserve.
Hitting the Right Balance
How can senior living marketing pivot to reach both prospects and their adult daughters? Appeal to both by making marketing online and inbound—emails, blogs, social media—but also rounded out with more traditional marketing, such as targeted direct mail that appeals to both daughter and parent. Events, too, should consider the fact that Kathy works and has a family—so timing of events needs to respect her busy schedule.
Balanced marketing also means anticipating the hunger for both information and reassurance in parent and child:
- Provide transparent and trustworthy information
- Recognize emotional components for both senior and adult daughter persona
- Listen to and address concerns and perspectives of both prospect and daughter
- Establish balance between competing needs: child for help with caregiving, parent for independence/health/comfort
Helping Your Community Help Out
It takes about six months to make the decision to move to senior living. We know that adult daughters are a huge part of that decision. Those six months provide a window of marketing opportunity to connect with this target in all the roles she plays: researcher, caregiver, comforter, and influencer. Using this window of time to reach and reassure her that you can care for her parents as she would will bring new prospects, more residents, and higher occupancy.