Cheeseburgers for Seniors and other thoughts about Adult Child Influencers

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Cheeseburgers for Seniors – A Guide for Boomers and Their Parents, by John D. Graham, is just one of many self-help books available offering advice to adult children dealing with elderly parents.  As the boomer generation ages, it finds itself increasingly faced with the question of how much to ‘interfere’ with their aging parents’ choices of how and where to live.  Books like Graham’s and David Solies’ How to Say it to Seniors provide advice and education on just about every aspect of the senior living decision, from lifestyle choices to finances.

As the age of entry into independent living continues to rise, we’ve noticed a jump in the number of inquiries that originate from a contact other than the prospect herself – most often a daughter or other female relative of the potential resident.  The older the prospect, the more likely it is that an adult child or other family member has done the initial search for senior communities – probably through the internet – and many times without the knowledge of the elderly parent.  At Solutions Advisors, we’ve conducted focus groups of residents who have recently moved to a senior living community, many of whom told us that their adult children were very involved in their choice of a senior community.

The question is – do you have a marketing strategy to communicate with and educate the adult child influencer?  Marketing to the busy and distracted adult child is challenging to say the least. At Solutions Advisors, we’ve found that, while direct mail is a productive strategy for prospects, it doesn’t work as well for the 45-65 age group. However, email invitations to an informational event work well – and you can purchase email addresses with age and income criteria just as you do postal addresses.

We believe a key strategy is to drive the adult child to your website – and to have a fresh, interesting, photo-juicy and easily discoverable website.  When is the last time you updated your website? Do you have a special section devoted to caregivers? Can an adult daughter get a good idea of what your community looks like and what it has to offer?  Do you use testimonials from adult children who are completely satisfied with their parents’ move?  Have you analyzed your SEO strategy to make sure your website is near the top of the Google search?  All of these tactics are important as the focus shifts from the prospect to the adult child influencer.

Creative follow up is another way to connect with the adult child.  Follow up a phone call or visit with an article or book with helpful tips on dealing with elderly parents.  The bottom line is your marketing plan should include strategies to connect with the adult child and to help them as they navigate the world of senior living, just as you would with any prospect.

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