Cities Where Older Adults Are Most Open to Senior Housing

Senior housing providers wondering where and how they can most effectively target their marketing might look to a few cities in the Northeast and Midwest—and should not overlook the power of radio.

Last year, adults 65 years old or older in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Madison, Wisconsin; Topeka, Kansas; and Southern New Hampshire were some of the most willing to consider moving into retirement communities, according to data from a nationwide survey conducted in 2015.

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Meanwhile, adults 75 years old or older in Madison, Wisconsin; Peoria, Illinois; Topeka, Kansas; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Southern New Hampshire were most willing to consider the move.

The findings were gathered by The Media Audit, a syndicated, local-market, qualitative audience survey conducted by Houston-based International Demographics, Inc., and compiled by David Cwi, president of Indianapolis-based CWI Associates, in a presentation available online.

The Media Audit randomly selected a total of 23,392 adults who were 75 years old or older within 83 metro areas for a survey about media consumption. The sample was then balanced to reflect the population weight of each market area. Questions about whether these adults would consider moving into a retirement community in the next five years, or whether they are considering assisted living for themselves or a family member, were asked for the first time in 2015.


The survey revealed that news, talk and public radio reach 65.5% of adults older than 75 nationwide.

“It makes it fairly easy to use radio to target them,” Cwi noted.

The survey also found 64.7% of U.S. seniors older than 75 read the daily newspaper on Wednesdays and Sundays, and 77% read the Yellow Pages printed edition to regularly or occasionally find phone numbers for businesses.

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And when it comes to targeting these seniors, the Internet may not be the best route to take. Almost 59% them had no exposure to the Internet whatsoever.

When senior housing companies combine all of this information, it has the potential to maximize their marketing efficiency, Cwi told Senior Housing News.

“From a marketing perspective, the place to start is with how many people are planning to actively consider senior housing,” he explained. This may be especially relevant nowadays, when massive senior living companies are attempting to create a coherent brand.

“Some of the bigger players in the industry are starting to use media more heavily to create a brand, and to create customer preference,” Cwi said. Such is the case for Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD), which recently launched both an internal and external branding initiative that includes five television commercials aired nationally.

The data confirm what some already knew with respect to seniors’ willingness to consider a move, Cwi said. Philadelphia, he noted, has had a strong senior living presence for a while, and when a city has a history of seniors living happily in communities, the word tends to get around.

“It’s a wonderful external validity check,” Cwi said of the findings.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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