Most consumers, whether they or their parents are the ones in the market for a senior living community, can agree on a few main considerations when looking into a future residence, but priorities may shift depending on who’s doing the research, and marketing should reflect that accordingly.
While quality, reputation, proximity, and cost are generally key considerations for all parties involved, opinions on what’s important in a community may diverge from there, says Jody Gastfriend, vice president of care management at Care.com, an online resource that connects families with care providers.
“There’s usually a disconnect: About 70% of seniors moving into senior living are moving from an independent situation where they were living at home,” she says. “When they visit [a potential community], they’re thinking, often, about loss. ‘Is this the last place I’m going to move? Will I no longer be able to be independent?’ The adult child is thinking, ‘Is this safe for Mom and Dad?’”
Not only are there different priorities between senior consumers and their adult children, there can also be differences among what male and female children are looking for in a community.
“When looking for senior housing both daughters and sons take similar factors into account including well trained qualified caregivers, effective management, affordability, location, and personalized services,” says Gastfriend. “Both sons and daughters want to know that their parents will be treated as individuals in a caring compassionate setting.”
However, women are more likely to be primary caregivers, according to a MetLife Study of Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers, and more daughters than sons are generally involved in helping their parent(s) find a new place to live, studies show. In a recent survey of 500 Care.com users, daughters were involved more than 70% of the time.
With the male-to-female caregiver ratio at about 34% to 66%, according to MetLife data, Care.com has found that adult daughters tend to be more realistic about the care needs of their parent.
In a 2012 survey of independent living residents conducted by Promatura Group in conjunction with the American Seniors Housing Association, 41.3% reported their adult daughters had helped them make the decision to move into the community, compared with 29.4% who said their sons had helped.
Knowing the involvement level of female adult children and what their concerns and priorities are can help shape marketing pitches.
“Sons, from our observation, are less likely to acknowledge mom or dad’s decline. Sons are also more likely to assist with legal and financial tasks associated with caregiving while daughters may provide direct care and emotional support,” says Gastfriend. “Adult daughters may be more open to marketing that addresses the reality of a parent’s loss of independence and increased need for support. Reinforcing that loved ones will receive the appropriate care based on their current and future needs can be very reassuring.”
Written by Alyssa Gerace