The best active retirement housing communities are those taking a holistic approach to their program offerings. They are adding new ones, eliminating those that have lost their steam. But, most importantly, they continue to be creative and listen.
After judging the MOMBA awards for www.retirementhomes.com, I saw first-hand the exceptional work being done by many to attract active retirees.
Maybe it’s time to take a look at your programs, or more importantly, your marketing philosophy to attract new residents. Here are five points you can use:
1. Continuing to focus on the Boomers’ generational DNA. It’s different than the generations that came before and those that follow it. The main characteristics are the desire for independence or autonomy. For Boomers, it means freedom; having choices. They say, “When I retire I want to do the things I want to do, and live the way I want to live.” They don’t take what comes; they want the very best that older age can offer.
2. Understanding personal and spiritual growth and the need for self-fulfillment. It’s what makes the Boomer generation so individualistic. Acknowledge their desire through your active retirement programs. For example, they may say they really want to work with disabled children. How can you connect them to local opportunities through agencies and health and human services organizations?
3. Saluting Boomers’ need for a life of balance. In a few words, helping them master their second act by balancing rest, relaxation and recreation. You might reach out to them to discuss and research programs that help them create equilibrium in their lives. Start with their thoughts. Lean on them for input. They will help you manage the opportunities especially when they believe in them and can see that their input counts.
4. Understand that Boomers are “information junkies.” That’s especially true with educated, affluent Boomers. They are on a perpetual “voyage to the interior” They relish the wonderful life of discovery. Peter Spiers, senior vice president of the nonprofit Road Scholars and a good friend, has highlighted the Boomer journey in his book, Master Class: Living Linger, Stronger and Happier.
5. Recognize their defining idea is freedom from the responsibilities and obligations of 40 years of work. So, you spell that out for them in specific ways. You find ways to portray your retirement location as creating more “freedom experiences.” You find ways to show them how their residency will result in new experiences and learning new things.
You show them your facility’s proximity to learning centers, back-to-college experiences and how your retirement housing stresses educational advancement. You foster an environment that stresses “cultural immersion” travel experiences allowing Boomers to learn holistically.
You form a Successful Aging Council of residents to help you think through ways to advance the idea of more freedom. You want to show residents and potential ones in this age group to learn how to do in retirement what they could not do during their working lives.
As a rule, the Boomer generation doesn’t take what comes – they want the best old age can offer. They will help you build a “more active” Active Retirement Housing Community. All you need to do is ask!