Unique Approaches Senior Care Communities Take to Attract Residents
As senior care facilities work to rebuild census post-pandemic, many are revisiting their marketing strategies and launching new campaigns. But others are taking a more comprehensive look at not only their marketing strategies, but also their community’s overall positioning and approach to senior care.
Rebranding for Better Messaging
Brian Lawrence, CEO of FellowshipLIFE, explains that the community rebranded in February to better reach perspective clients, residents, and members. “We needed to convey our image, who we are, and what we offer in a more significant way,” he says. “We really wanted to embrace a different nomenclature and position ourselves as an organization that provides services to the larger aging services market.”
Formerly Fellowship Senior Living, the community rebranded to FellowshipLIFE, including a new tagline: “Enrich, transform, empower.” “We want to enrich lives, transform the aging experience, and we want people to be empowered to live the best life that they can,” explains Lawrence.
Identifying Gaps in the Market
FellowshipLIFE consists of four communities, including the original community, Fellowship Village, plus three additional communities that were acquired over the past nine months. The organization offers comprehensive senior care services, including home care services throughout New Jersey, hospice services, and a Therapy at Home program. “We saw a gap several years ago with the shift in Medicare reimbursement, where people were going straight home instead of to acute services,” says Lawrence. “The program has been growing successfully, and supports over 200 people a month currently. We’re still hiring and growing the program because of the huge demand.”
The organization also stands apart from others because of its owned medical services. “A lot of communities hire other doctors, or they come in one day per week, but there’s not a lot of consistency in the community,” Lawrence explains. “For us, it’s our doctors and nurse practitioners. Bringing that to the communities provides a lot more consistency, and we can be proactive in the health and wellbeing of residents.”
Designing Fellowship Village to Stand Out
The Fellowship Village model is unique, and Lawrence notes that the organization plans to apply the model to the other three communities. “Fellowship Village is an upper-middle market and above community,” he says. “We invested significantly into the infrastructure to ensure we’re meeting the needs of the boomer generation. People want to have an active, vibrant, engaged lifestyle. The typical age of people who move here is early seventies and up. We want to attract those younger, vibrant older adults.”
As a result, the community has embraced more of a hospitality focus with a focus on active living. “The first thing we did was upgrade the homes to make sure they’re always contemporary, and that they’re how people want to live,” says Lawrence. Appliances were upgraded, and the homes have spacious, open floor plans.
Off of the main community center is a community theater that’s also open to the public. It boasts 257 seats in a tiered seating arrangement, as well as a stage, a fly space, an orchestra pit, and other amenities like a green room and dressing rooms. Residents are able to buy tickets to events before the public, and performances include musicals, plays, orchestral works, and cabaret.
“The audiences are about 75% public and 25% residents,” says Lawrence. “It creates a more engaged and vibrant atmosphere in the community.”
The community also features Wilson’s Campus Bar & Lounge, which incorporates a full bar. “When we designed it, people said that maybe we should have a sunken bar because we serve older people,” Lawrence recalls. “I said no, I serve young, vibrant people. They’ll sit on a stool because it’s a great experience. The stools are the first seats to go every night.”
The space also features indoor and outdoor dining, including a covered porch that is heated and cooled, as well as outdoor fire pits. Lawrence says the business has been a great draw to engage residents as well as family members and visitors. People who attend theater performances can also enjoy dinner at the restaurant.
In May, the community opened a MedSpa offering services like fillers, Botox, and radiofrequency skin treatments. The MedSpa is also open to the greater community, but residents use it, too.
In November, the Vibe Fitness Day Spa & Salon will open to both residents and the greater community. The state-of-the-art fitness centers features glass walls for a beautiful view of the grounds. “The goal is to have memberships so community members are working out alongside our residents,” says Lawrence. “You can’t provide this level of service unless we do bring in the greater community. It’s creating a more engaged, vibrant environment, and is helping to spread our brand and reputation. It’s expanding aging service marketing, but also providing more enhanced hospitality services to the residents in the community.”
FellowshipLIFE built a new website and uses a marketing strategy that incorporates SEO, PPC, Facebook, blogging, and direct mail campaigns. “We believe in a relationship approach to everything we do, especially marketing,” says Lawrence. “We focus on really getting to know people, what they’re interested in, what their passions are, and how we can connect them to that.”
To support that personal connection, the community performs tours and home visits to really understand who people are. “We provide them with what they need where they need it, whether that’s moving to a community or staying at home,” Lawrence explains.
Pairing a hospitality-based community approach with relationship-based marketing techniques helps FellowshipLIFE stand out from other communities. The entire community, from its amenities to its services, tie into its rebranding and overall messaging. The result is a consistent, united message designed to appeal to a specific target audience while positioning FellowshipLIFE as distinctly and inarguably unique.
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