A Place for Mom launched in Canada in July of 2014. We spent months learning about Canadian laws, terminology, and customs surrounding seniors housing to learn as much as we could about the seniors housing industry. There were three main steps that we needed to get right to ensure that we could work with our partners to provide exceptional service to Canadian seniors and their families.
1. Assemble a Strong Team
We have built a great team of Senior Living Advisors, including Karen Marlatt in Hamilton, ON. “I learned about A Place for Mom on a job site. My first thought was, that is an intriguing name. It spoke about working with families who are looking for senior care options, but I hesitated. My daughter then called me a few days later and said ‘Mom, there is this great job for you. It’s for a Senior Living Advisor at a company called A Place for Mom.’ I took the nudge from her and began the process. It has been one of the best things I have ever done in my life!”
A Place for Mom has over 15 Senior Living Advisors across Canada, with plans to bring on more team members as we reach more and more families looking for help with their seniors housing search. Visit our Senior Living Advisors page to meet your local team and read more about what makes them exceptional.
2. Build Trust
Early on, Karen recognized that one of the important characteristics of an effective Senior Living Advisor is to build trust with families. Many families don’t expect the speed and efficiency of our service. We know that emergencies happen, and we want to make sure that we help people when they really need us. When a family submits their information online, for example, one of our call center agents calls them within a minute. “There is often skepticism. We hear [from the family] ‘I just typed my name in and then the phone rang!’ They haven’t had a chance to realize what is happening because one minute they are talking to the call center and then next minute they are speaking to an SLA and this creates doubt.”
Because families are surprised by our speed, Karen has to slow things down a little and build trust with the family. “Trust has to be put in place from the first hello, taking the time throughout the conversation to build a rapport, show compassion and most importantly be able to show the value of the service we provide as families go through what is a very overwhelming and confusing process.” The initial consultation can’t be rushed; a thorough understanding of the family’s wants and needs is vital to referring communities that are a potential fit for the senior.
3. Develop the Partnership
The initial consultation includes questions about the senior’s care needs, their budget, and geography. Once the SLA has a handle on the particulars, they start to dive into the senior’s lifestyle. We want to understand their hobbies, routine, and meal preferences so we can pass that information onto our partners. That way you can gather some of the basic information you need and focus on other questions you might have for the family. It also ensures that you can build a quicker connection with the family instead of spending time on the early intake questions.
Karen’s ultimate goal is to introduce families to the right communities for them and encourage the family to get out to tour as soon as possible. Building a strong professional relationship with partners is vital to helping more families. It’s a good policy to see APFM’s Senior Living Advisors as extensions of your own marketing efforts; they will introduce you to families that may be a good fit for your community, share feedback that the family shared with them, and help you strategize about the best ways to connect with the family. “By keeping the lines of communication open we are able to focus on the most important issues as they change to keep the family moving forward,” Karen adds.
The search for seniors housing can be confusing and overwhelming, but we believe that we are taking positive steps toward providing premium service to Canadian families. A Place for Mom is grateful to our team members and partners who have embarked on this new chapter with us and live the noble mission of seniors housing. As Karen says, “Every day is another day to celebrate when I know I have helped a family get where they need to be.” Together we are truly uplifting the lives of seniors and their families.
Do you have questions about working with A Place for Mom Canada? Ask them in the Comments section below!