Win this senior living sweepstakes, get a free room!

Here’s a novel way to increase occupancy: Give your rooms away.

That’s what Emeritus Senior Living is doing with a new sweepstakes in which one grand prize winner—aged 65 and over, of course—will be awarded a year’s worth of room and board at any one of the company’s independent living, assisted living, or Alzheimer's communities (a prize valued at $50,000). Interested parties have from now until December 31 to enter at no cost.

So, what’s the catch? While there is fine print explaining the contest rules for entry, such as prohibiting those who receive Medicaid/Medicare assistance as they may lose their eligibility due to the financial award, it appears to be a pretty simple game of chance. The odds of winning are 1:80,000 based on an estimated 80,000 entries, according to Emeritus. But there is still indeed a catch, and it’s one that should end up benefiting both the provider and the consumer.

In order to receive an entry code, which can be plugged in at, contestants must take a tour of an Emeritus community (excluding skilled nursing facilities). The company says it is requiring the tour so locals have an “incentive to familiarize themselves with the services offered at Emeritus.”

This is pretty great marketing, and seems to be a win-win for Emeritus. They’ll surely lock in more than enough customers to cover the cost of the sweepstakes, all the while exuding something that can at times be absent in the posture of long-term care providers: confidence. That’s right, Emeritus is so confident in the quality of its care, its facilities, its people, that the company has seamlessly turned our vocabulary around. Not only are they advertising quality care, but it’s care worth being called a “prize.”

Today I spoke with Stephanie Siegel, community relations director of Emeritus at Mentor, which is but a jaunt away from Long-Term Living’s offices in Cleveland. She says not only are people who take the tour “pleasantly surprised” with what they’re discovering at Emeritus, they’re also walking away with a greater understanding of modern long-term care principles.

“It helps to break down those barriers for people who are afraid of assisted living or senior living facilities or for people who think of nursing homes as scary places,” she says. While you may think that notion of long-term care is antiquated, the consumer population is not there yet. But as Emeritus is showing us, give people the chance to win anything—anything!—and they may just come around.

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