There Are So Many Choices…Set Yourself Apart

If you have taken the RAL Academy’s 3-Day Seminar or the Home Study Course with us then you will have already learned many strategies to market your Residential Assisted Living home to the communities around you. As valued members of our community we would like to continue to offer tips to help you find the residents that you are looking for to fill your RAL homes and create greater success in your business. You may already be familiar with some of these tips, so they might be a good reminder for you, or some of them may be new ideas that will help your business grow. Either way, we want to see you succeed.

As in any business, we want match our supply with existing demand by marketing our RAL homes to best fit the needs and desires of the potential residents and families who are looking for them. So one of the first things that could help us is to put ourselves in the shoes of someone who is in need of assisted living. What would we be looking for?

The difficulty with elder care for most people who find themselves entering its orbit is how disorienting it can be at first, especially if one has found themselves there unexpectedly or suddenly. There are so many things to figure out and just sorting through it all can get overwhelming. We have canvassed a number of popular websites designed to help families navigate this important step in caring for their parents and grandparents and many of these elements are detailed below in the following categories: appearance, amenities and activities.

First off, we have appearance.  These are basic elements that will be evident and easily observed by guests touring your RAL home. Cleanliness…does the residence feel fresh and clean? Are the residents well groomed, clean-shaven, nails trimmed, and dressed appropriately, etc.?

While assisted living residents will usually be free to determine their own appearance and cleanliness, guests touring your home will probably be put off if the appearance of many of the residents is well below the standard of what is generally accepted in society.

Also, included in appearance is the care staff. Are they friendly and attentive? How do they interact with residents? Do they listen and make eye contact, or do they appear obligatory in the care they provide?

Secondly, prospective residents and their families are looking for amenities in the home that will offer a safe living environment, one designed for mobility and accessibility while offering expert care and comfort. For example, does the home have a spacious dining room able to serve many people and foster a sense of community? They will want to know that your staff offers well-prepared, nutritious meals tailored to the changing health and needs of the residents.

Does the home have patios or outdoor courtyards, possibly a garden area with opportunities for residents to learn and practice gardening?  It doesn’t have to be elaborate.  A simple, small garden, possibly raised off the ground to aid accessibility, and one that allows the residents to share in the creativity in choosing and maintaining the plants can be a great thing. Being partially responsible for the cultivation of a garden can give a great sense of purpose and expresses one’s independence.

Another good option for your residents is a library.  Although, it is more than likely that you will not have an on-site library, like a few of the big-box facilities might have, but offering a moderate selection of reading materials on a bookshelf or two will go a long way to add appeal to your RAL home. And it can be as simple as going to your local library.  Many libraries often have areas where they sell surplus books at a huge discount.  Or you might find great deals on books at yard sales you pass along the way to add to your reading collection. You might try starting a book of the month club to get residents communicating around a particular subject, or have a volunteer come in and tell stories or give art lessons. Anything that intellectually stimulates your residents will contribute to their overall health and bring value to your home.

Some facilities will offer a small fitness rooms with age-appropriate fitness equipment, and while this is not entirely feasible in a residential environment, having an area where residents can safely move about and stretch with a few exercise tools can add appeal to your home.

Try searching “exercise equipment for seniors” and purchase a few items, such as, light tension resistance bands or maybe 2-5 lb weights that will be appropriate for your residents.  You might even want to try a pedal exerciser, which are relatively inexpensive and helps seniors stay active while sitting down. Anything to encourage a healthy lifestyle by offering various kinds of exercises to keep residents moving while having fun will be greatly added value to your RAL home.

Speaking of moving and added value, the activities you offer will also be a selling point for attracting prospective residents. Just about every resident needing an assisted living home, regardless of their physical and mental condition or their level of mobility still has a desire for living as independently as possible.  So offering activities that foster greater independence is beneficial for your residents as well as your business.

Families will want to know does the home offer opportunities for healthy socialization? This is important because it can be difficult for older adults to make friends when they don’t have the social aspect of work or volunteer activities. Also, many of their friends may have passed, have serious health issues, or difficulties with mobility which inhibit them from being able to visit regularly.

Are there various activities to exercise the minds and gently exercise the bodies of the residents? Are those activities well attended by all of the residents and are they enjoying themselves? Does the home offer a range of activities to appeal to the different interests of its residents?  Is there a possibility to bring live entertainment into the home by reaching our to local schools or churches that may have young people that can perform musically for your residents? These are all things that prospective residents and their families might be interested in, and if you pro-actively prepare your RAL home with these options, you will set yourself apart and your business will reap the rewards.

Moving into assisted living is a life-changing decision for older adults, and with so many options available today, it’s important to find the right fit. As RAL owners and operators, we understand that it is not just a business, but we have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.  We feel that offering a comfortable home, rather than the big box facilities, we are able to market our business in a more personal way. And with the right amenities, activities, and elder care, we can set ourselves apart from the myriad of options that elders and their families have.

Don’t forget, we will be continually offering tips and insight into how to improve the marketability of your RAL home in our blog posts and in the monthly newsletter, as well as at our Youtube channel https://goo.gl/RkN7VS

So be on the lookout for more tips in the future. We here at the RAL Academy wish you well as you continue on your journey offering excellent care to your residents. Reminding us all to Do Good and Do Well.