The Outdated Way People Think About Senior Living and Retirement Communities
What’s the biggest obstacle for senior living providers? For eight years now, I have been a salesperson in the senior industry, which include services such as independent living and assisted living. The biggest obstacle I have faced, and am still facing, is hearing from family members that “mom is not ready yet,” or “dad likes his house and doesn’t want to move right now.”
My initial thoughts after hearing these statements is to dig into the reason why they called and inquired about a senior living community.
A Retirement Community or Living at Home Alone?
Most people don’t wake up one morning and out of the blue decide to visit senior living communities. There had to be a reason or potential issue that caused a family member or senior to pick up the phone or come by and talk to me.
Is dad comfortable in his home but his son or daughter feels like the isolation is making him depressed? At 84-years-young, mom doesn’t want to be around all of these “old people,” yet you are scared that if she should fall at night, how would she be attended to? Or as the sole caretaker, are your parent’s needs just becoming too much for you?
The (Outdated) Concerns with Senior Living and Retirement Communities
All these questions are valid concerns. But the answer to those questions is not why a senior living community is exactly the right place for their loved one. The issue is that they do not realize it. So, how do we as senior living providers educate others on senior living communities?
It seems to me the simplest path is to change their thinking of what senior living truly is. Families still do not know the difference between communities’ services such as independent living, assisted living, memory care for individuals with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, and skilled nursing. It’s all called a “nursing home” or “retirement facility” to most.
Senior Living Communities Do Not Equal Nursing Homes
As senior living providers, we should be more of an educator than a salesperson. It’s not anyone’s fault that most seniors and their families don’t realize we offer more than bingo, or that our meals are not hospital-grade food (no offense to hospitals.) In fact, Atlas Senior Living communities provide unique dining experiences with chef-developed meals every single day!
In any case, we as senior living representatives must educate families and seniors on all the ways our industry has evolved, and the richness that many have to offer. And the only way to have mom or dad come to that realization is for them to see and experience the difference for themselves. They need to change their own minds before they allow themselves to be open to any other living options.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at can change.”
– Wayne Dyer
Moving to a senior living community is not the end of the road. It can be the beginning of a new journey if you just let it. Most of us left high school and went on to college, joined the military or pursued some other adventure … and why did we choose to do this?
There might have been some hesitation and even a little fright, but this next step was taken to change our direction in life just like any other decision. Nowhere is it written that at age 80 you are done making decisions on where your life will continue to go. Perception is what we all must help change. Coming to that realization is the first step to making a change.
“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”
― C. JoyBell C.
– Greg Crutcher, VP of Sales and Marketing, Atlas Senior Living