Ms. Sullivan brings to AgingChoices twenty plus years of new business development, account management and sales expertise.
A 25-year veteran of the Senior Living industry and I recently discussed the trends and technologies that will change our industry. I was updating this executive on the critical nature of lifestyle data and why it’s important to get to know each customer on an individual basis so you can personalize their experiences.
Then our conversation took an interesting and unexpected turn…
We started talking about Boomers and their expectations and demands, as well as what the senior living communities of the future could—and very likely will—look like.
Our conversation focused on lifestyles and how connections to other people who share similar passions and interests make us feel. We joked about people who are “Parrotheads” and want to drink endless margaritas making their way to a Jimmy Buffet-themed retirement community in Florida.
Could my conversation partner be way ahead of his time?
It’s all about experiences. Maybe, as we age, our experiences are a bit more limited. But if we can connect with people that love to do the same activities as us and have the same passions and hobbies, our days would almost certainly be more fulfilling.
Is it hard to imagine a future where there are senior living communities that cater specifically to sports enthusiasts, movie lovers, travel buffs, think tanks, poker players, musical groups, bikers, artists, foodies, wicked smart trivia competitors, and any other group you can think of?
It definitely sounds a bit “Disney.” But, personally, I don’t have a hard time imagining myself surrounding with other folks who enjoy sharing a good Starbucks iced coffee and have a love of the ocean and everything that comes with it—boating, sailing and racing, lunch on the water, the beach, nautical decorations, and watching the America’s Cup.
To me, that seems extremely appealing. Even if I couldn’t sail anymore, I’d want to surround myself with people who also love these things. It’s all about that feeling of connection.
As Boomers drive older adult service providers to meet their needs, what can we do to start to move the ship in that direction?
Two words: Ask questions.
How personalization can transform the senior living experience
In healthcare and senior living, personalization has essentially been non-existent.
But there’s a great opportunity in senior living: the chance to match real estate with personalized care and hospitality. Forward-thinking senior living communities have the ability to lead the way with innovation, finding ways to serve older adults in personalized yet profitable way. To do this, it is critical to get as close to customers as possible and find out what matters most to them.
It turns out that people don’t hesitate to tell us exactly what they want. We just need to give them the opportunity to do so.
My business partner and I are Boomers. Maybe we’re younger Boomers, but we’re still Boomers, and we expect to be able to drive our own experiences—much like the residents of senior living communities, old and young.
Over the past few months, we’ve learned that the Silent Generation and Boomers are active online and have no problem using digital platforms. In fact, we’ve even had a 93-year-young adult share intimate personal data, and we never expected they would.
The bulk of consumers do not mind sharing information in the privacy of their own homes if they feel like they will gain something. A Salesforce study, for example, found that 82% of customers will share personal data to enhance their in-person experience.
That statistic should resonate with every senior living healthcare provider. Are you giving your customers the opportunity to tell you want they want, what they need, and what they prefer in their privacy of their homes and in a way that focuses on them?
That’s what consumers young and old expect. It’s time to give them what they want.