We recently released a report from our 2019 Consumer Preferences Survey, which provides insightful data that can help you attract and retain more residents. In July, we surveyed 1,417 caregivers or seniors about their top preferences when looking for five types of senior living communities. The results of the survey give a glimpse into what consumers want most for their loved ones in a senior living community and their preferred methods for researching senior living options.
Our findings underscore the importance of digital marketing and communication in attracting those seeking senior living and digital-driven Senior Living Providers will lead the way as demand for housing increases. Consumer reliance on digital information was consistent across each of the five major types of senior living surveyed, which included independent living, assisted living, memory care, residential care and senior apartments. With these insights, you can refine your marketing and communications strategies to better connect with families.
- Most respondents rely on search engines and use Google as their primary resource for researching senior living options
- Online reviews and ratings matter. Respondents searching for senior living stated they value online reviews and ratings more than recommendations from friends or family members.
- Email is a preferred method of communication. A majority of respondents across all categories indicated they would rather receive information from senior living providers via email instead of over the phone, via text or through online chat.
Key Factors Influencing Customer Choice
We asked respondents to rate the most important qualities that influence their evaluation of potential senior housing options. Their responses confirm what customers’ value most when evaluating housing options for their loved ones.
The quality of care provided at a senior living facility is a top concern for families searching for independent living, assisted living, memory care and residential care. For caregivers looking for senior apartments for their loved ones, 61% were most concerned about affordability.
Paying for Senior Living
We asked caregivers about how they planned to pay for their housing and care. In almost all housing categories, the majority of consumers said they plan to use retirement savings to cover the cost. A Place for Mom helps families uncover potential income opportunities that may cover their senior living needs.
An average of 42% of respondents plan to pay for senior living through retirement and savings, 25% from income from social security, 12% from the sale of their home and 6% from family.
Takeaway: Understanding how consumers plan to pay for their housing and care can help you provide the right information to inform customers of their financial commitment.
Consumers ranked the most important features within senior care living communities. For every category, these were the features that mattered most (in order of most to least important):
- Quality of rooms/apartments
- Quality of dining areas
- Quality of common areas
- Outdoor space
An average of 81% of respondents ranked the quality of rooms/apartments as extremely important or very important when deciding on a senior living community.
Takeaway: While the quality of care is the most important element for most senior living types, quality of rooms can be an equally determining factor.
Neighborhood and Location Preferences
Survey respondents weighed in about what they desired most in a neighborhood and location for their loved one. Low crime rates and proximity to family and hospitals are extremely important or very important for caregivers looking for senior care. The more care that an individual requires, the less that features like public transportation and neighborhood walkability mattered to them. Across all types of care, suburban locations are preferred over urban areas, rural communities or small towns.
An average of 82% of respondents rated low crime extremely important or very important to the senior living neighborhood.
Over half of respondents are searching for senior living within 10 miles of the senior’s current location.
Different elements of the neighborhood will be attractive for consumers and their preferences depending on the type of housing situation they’re looking for. Ultimately the location of the senior and their family will impact their decision making greatly.
Tips to Attract More Customers and Improve Customer Experience
Our survey collected new and interesting insights on consumer preferences to help you connect with new audiences and improve the experience of their search.
- Emphasize your value to residents. When talking about the cost of living at your community with customers, be sure to cover the range of amenities and how your community provides value. This way, customers can understand the full spectrum of benefits they receive.
- Highlight your most important amenities. To showcase the quality of your community’s personal rooms, use high-resolution and well-staged photos of rooms on your website and social channels. It’s a good idea to show vacant rooms on in-person tours as well.
- Neighborhood and location is key. Across all marketing assets (website, social media, tours), play up your neighborhood. Touch on the low crime rate or your community’s livable suburban vibe.
- Encourage customers to submit reviews. Consumers look closely at community ratings and reviews and consider them more important than recommendations from family or friends. Don’t be too shy to brag!
- Leverage email communication. Across all care categories, email is the preferred form of communication—even more than phone or text. Ensure your agents are putting their email to work.
- Tailor in-person tours to the expressed needs and preferences of consumers. Caregivers find in-person tours to be extremely important to their decisions. The experience and personal touches of a guided tour at your community are more influential in a consumer’s final decision than many other factors. Ahead of each tour, refer to what caregivers have shared about their wants and needs in a community—and speak to those during the tour.
- Consider more price transparency. Consumers in every category said that clear and accessible pricing information would make their search and selection of senior living easier. Make sure you’re laying out costs in a clear manner so consumers can easily understand where their money is going.
To read the data in more detail, download the full report here.