Advice for Senior Living Providers
I read with interest Elizabeth Ecker’s article in Senior Housing News: To Attract Boomers, Senior Living Providers Should Think More Like Retailers. I certainly agree that Boomers are moving from a “transactional model” based on their health needs, to more of an “experiential-based model". However, retailers are sucking wind because of the disruptive impact of companies such as Amazon. An article by Square on 6 Trends to Watch in 2018 starts out:
“Today’s connected consumers (particularly Gen Z) expect instant gratification, new experiences, and personalization in retail. As a result, they’re driving a massive shakeup in the traditional retail landscape. Savvy businesses are now quickly pioneering changes, forcing others to adapt or be left behind.”
All of that is true for What Boomers Want.
During the 2018 Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference, Gaurie Rodman, Director of Development Management at Aptura, a Direct Supply Company, urged selling on “want” versus “need” – that’s great advice if you’re hoping to glean a piece of the Boomer Pie. But, I’d say – take it further!
Rather than segregating our elders in a homogenous community, why not think of Senior Living as just one specialized component of a vibrant neighborhood? If we’re using the retailer model, think like one specialty retailer in the midst of a very successful destination mega-mall.
As Christopher Alexander and his colleagues noted in their book A Pattern Language way back in the ‘70’s: “Old people need old people, but they also need the young, and young people need contact with the old.”
Let’s consider how to open ourselves up to the surrounding neighborhood. One of the things I like about working in this arena is that the food service is great at our clients’ venues. Why not allow the public to enjoy dining in your Bistro? Have it open onto the street.
There are many other opportunities to break the mold and develop multi-generational solutions. Just look at what Ryan Frederick is doing at Smart Living 360. Or take a minute to check out Steve Shields’ work at Norterre.
Do you remember when Steve Jobs came back to Apple after being fired, and the company had only about 90 days of cash available? That’s when he launched the Think Different campaign.
One thing is for sure: If senior living providers are going to remain relevant and flourish in the face of the Boomer tsunami, they’re going to have to Think Different and adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace.
Brad Smith Associates, Inc. is a mold-breaking exterior planning and design firm serving the aging services industry. Our approach puts people first, focusing on their unique needs while cultivating a deep sense of community. That is done by using a rational problem-solving method, infused with Imaginality™, combining the five key components of PLACE-Creation into our designs:
Planning - Applied foresight to achieve your project goals
Lifestyle - Delivering a better result for people by understanding their needs and lifestyles
Aesthetics - The aesthetics of a property speak to the "brand essence", greatly affecting marketing.
Community - a sense of meaning, identity and belonging for the people living there
Economics - informed decision-making on the front end during the design process can yield significant dividends on the back end (by reducing ongoing operations and maintenance costs).
We're landscape architects and planners by profession, and we love putting our talents to work to create value for you.
How can we help you maximize your potential in the marketplace? We'd like to learn more about how we can help you achieve great things - whether that involves planning new construction, making repairs or renovations, or completely repositioning your product offering. Let's have a conversation soon.