The tide is about to turn. As of May 11th, more than 153 million Americans (~46% of the population) have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including roughly 83 percent of people aged 65 and older. This encouraging news means we’re closer to the end of COVID-19 and the pandemic will no longer demand all of our attention.
There’s no denying what we’ve collectively been through, even if there is light at the end of the tunnel. (Thank you, science!) But even as we quietly celebrate, we need a clear understanding of the path forward. Savvy industry leaders know they need to refine and hone their marketing message to reach their target audience at this critical juncture. Here’s what that might look like in senior living communities across America as we inch toward the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prioritize Form and Function
Now is a great time to consider all of the elements of your community through the lens of both safety and social connectivity. For example, physical amenities like patios, balconies, sidewalks, gardens, walking paths, and other features are more prized assets in a post-pandemic world. They offer residents and families the opportunity to be together, separately. Indoor, multi-purpose rooms with lightweight, mobile furniture offer flexibility, providing a safe space for telemedicine visits and socially distanced activities and visits with loved ones. You might not have been using these as talking points in your messaging for the past year, so now is the time to highlight them.
Up Your Tech Game
The pandemic underscored the value and importance of human connection. For many senior living residents, this connection was severed as families couldn’t visit or connect digitally. This past year has demonstrated the need for dependable digital access across all generations. More importantly, the residents of the near future (younger Baby Boomers and older Gen Xers) will expect communities that are fully equipped with high-speed internet access, software and hardware to facilitate communication, and IoT devices such as activity trackers, heart monitors and fall prevention to help maintain their health and wellness. Senior living communities 2.0 need to be technologically forward because residents will be eager to embrace innovations. If you’ve upgraded your technology, is it a featured story in your messaging?
Market Wellness as a Feature and Benefit
For the past 13 months, future residents have begun embracing ways to stay healthy. (How many times have we been reminded to wash our hands?) As such, that value proposition should be woven into your brand narrative. How does your community address all of the dimensions and facets of well being? If you’ve implemented in-person and virtual experiences, you can impress prospective residents as you tell this story.
Prioritize Human Capital
During the pandemic, our essential workers have sacrificed their safety each day to show up and care for their residents. As we move forward, it’s becoming more challenging to hire and retain frontline staff. It might be more difficult to recruit unless you up the ante on benefits. Whether it’s offering healthcare benefits, dining passes, tuition assistance, or flexible schedules, forward-thinking communities will need to find creative ways to attract and retain top talent. One intangible way to say thank you is to showcase stellar employees who made a difference during the lockdown. It shows how much you appreciate the individuals who often go unseen.
Speaking of appreciating everyone, our team at Sabal Group relishes the opportunity to apply out-of-the-box thinking to help our clients. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you in 2021 and beyond, please email Maribeth today.