If we could have foreseen what was coming in 2020, we might not have believed our eyes.

But, as hindsight is 20/20, we have a long and clear view of a year like no other – and we can use that perspective to enter 2021 focused on what needs to happen in senior living.

But first, let’s take a look back at the remarkable achievements in senior communities across the country.

Professionals in senior living have created countless ways to keep residents active and engaged. They’ve adapted to restrictions and limitations with novelty and inspiration. They’ve learned to utilize technology in far-reaching ways and proven that not only is necessity the mother of invention, it is the springboard for programming that doesn’t stagnate in the face of sudden change; it flourishes.

Staff in senior communities were unsung heroes long before that became the standard praise. They have continued to come to work, day and night, keeping residents safe, entertained, cared for, and loved. They’ve rolled up their sleeves and taken on roles and responsibilities unique to this unprecedented time.

So, what does informed retrospection mean for your community in 2021?

Three things:

  1. Your good news needs to be shared.
    The media have not been kind to the senior living industry during the pandemic. Negative stories and statistics have flooded the news, reflecting senior living in an unflattering light, largely unfairly. The good happening in senior communities far outweighs the bad, and that message needs to shine for all to see.Change the narrative by telling your positive stories! Share your news of ever-vigilant safety measures, security and healthcare…of continued high quality of life amidst an unfathomable turn of events, intense scrutiny and epic challenges…of connections made and kept strong.Content marketing comes with a fully stocked toolbox of print and digital communications. By definition, this type of marketing does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services. Whether you’re targeting a hand-picked group of just a few or the broadest of audiences, quality content marketing can reach your prospects with impact and personal relevance.

    The tools of the content marketing trade run the gamut from social media, press releases, feature stories and videos to blogs, podcasts, webinars, e-blasts, print and electronic newsletters, infographics, direct mail, ads, white papers, case studies, and more.

    Leveraging the various channels of content marketing will counteract the steady stream of negativity surrounding senior living and put your good news in the spotlight.

  2. Your staff needs to feel valued and appreciated.
    Staff longevity is a key criterion for prospective residents and their families looking for a senior living community. Happy staff members stay, and happy staff members are those who feel heard, respected, engaged, recognized, and cherished.The pandemic has presented unparalleled opportunities for stress and burnout. Letting your team know that you truly value them requires more than a smile or a passing word of thanks (though that’s certainly a good start). Intentional employee communications programs boost all-important staff retention, especially if they’re tailored to your unique community, culture and common causes. Regular incentives, initiatives and department/individual recognition tactics created specifically for your human resources will improve your bottom line by honoring your top employees.Because past and current staff members sometimes turn to employee websites to air grievances in the workplace, it is paramount to monitor those sites to stay apprised and ahead of potential conflict.
  3. Reputational damage must be mitigated.
    All the world’s a stage” is a line from a Shakespearean play, but it could also describe the endless opportunities social media affords anyone, anywhere, to speak their mind. Often, these words are not particularly praiseful. COVID-19 presents an even greater reputational risk to senior living communities, and appropriate response to reviews or comments on employee sites or social media is crucial to mitigating reluctance to move in or a drop in census.An even greater risk is actual crisis of any kind in a senior community, such as fire, contagion, cyberattack, etc., or a smoldering crisis (the most common), such as neglect, mismanagement, scandal, and the like.Regardless of the severity of onsite crisis or online reputational harm, negative attention on your community requires trained communication with all stakeholders. Crisis response is an art that cannot be ad-libbed or issued extemporaneously, lest even further damage be inflicted.

2021 is just around the corner. With 20/20 vision looking forward and 30 years of experience behind us, IVY Marketing Group can tell your great stories, inspire your teams, and provide trained response to – and monitoring of – reputational risk.

Let us start changing the sightlines of your community today! And watch for our new video about our 20/20 vision for 2021!

IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.