Senior Living

Go Beyond Ordinary: Crafting Unforgettable Events for Senior Living Prospects

Mackenzie Fraser, Senior Vice President

Seniors celebrating

In today’s senior living sales and marketing landscape, a key to enticing prospective residents to your community lies in hosting unforgettable events that capture their attention, engage them and leave a lasting memory of your community. How do you consistently infuse freshness and excitement into your events to attract those ideal prospects?

We’ve curated a list of five dynamic event concepts that are sure to captivate your audience and forge a memorable connection with them.

1. Embrace Current Events & Pop Culture

Use what’s current and new to create one-of-a-kind events with themed decorations, food and activities. Some examples include:

  • Sporting events: Celebrate iconic competitions like the Kentucky Derby, the Masters, the Super Bowl or Wimbledon.
  • Pop culture events: Seniors are becoming more visible in the entertainment industry. For instance, “The Golden Bachelor” is a spinoff of “The Bachelor” in which 71-year-old Gerry Turner vies for the attention of a group of senior women and an opportunity for a second chance at love. In the movie “80 for Brady,” four women over 80 take a road trip to the Super Bowl. Leverage pop culture events like these for themed viewing parties and social media posts to amplify your marketing efforts.
  • Holidays and observances: There are 11 federal holidays you can use as a hook for your event, but there are also hundreds of “official” observances throughout the year on which you can focus. The National Day Calendar provides a comprehensive list, including everything from National Little Pampered Dog Day to National Grandparents Day.

2. News They Can Use

Moving to a senior living community is one of the most significant decisions an older adult must make, demanding consideration and care. Information and education at in-person or virtual events are essential for guiding senior prospects to make the best decision for their situation. Examples include:

  • Financial and tax planning: Invite a financial and tax expert to take a deep dive into strategies seniors can use to optimize their financial well-being.
  • Open house with resident ambassadors: Your residents can help prospects get a picture of the vibrant and active lifestyle they will enjoy in your community.
  • Rightsizing: Moving from a large house to a more compact space can be daunting. A session on making the process easier can go a long way toward easing stress.
  • Lunch and learn: Highlight your community’s cuisine while providing information about everything from amenities and services to the local area.
  • Decorating your living space: Invite a designer to talk to prospects about maximizing their space and creating a comfortable living environment that’s exactly right for their lifestyle.
  • Continuing care retirement community contract types: Understanding the differences between Type A, B and C communities will arm prospects with critical information that will help them choose the right contract type for their needs.

3. Get It Down to an Art (or Culture)

By focusing on artistic and cultural activities and programs, you can demonstrate your community’s commitment to nurturing creativity and providing enrichment opportunities to your residents. Some examples:

  • Organize an exhibit of resident art: Invite prospects to view the art and meet the resident artists. You may even consider an educational lecture from a local artist and display their professional works for all to enjoy.
  • Hold an art workshop: Have residents guide your guests in creating one-of-a-kind works of art they can take home with them.
  • Host a music performance: Bring in local musicians to perform popular songs. Focus on one era and build a theme around it.
  • Sing and dance (and act): Whether local or professional, invite performing artists to entertain at special, invitation-only events.

4. Eat and Greet

Food can bring people together, spark conversations and forge connections. Food-centric events that show off the quality of your culinary program will be pleasurable and leave lasting memories for participants. A few ideas:

  • Chef-led cooking demonstrations: Residents and resident prospects can learn new skills during a cooking demonstration that also spotlights your menu and dining team.
  • Host a cooking class: Have your chef work with residents and prospects to build a meal. The group can socialize and enjoy their efforts together.
  • Food tasting: Serve gourmet small plates or a cheese selection and pair them with local wines while a sommelier shares tips on tasting and pairing.
  • Themed food events: If you’re having a Kentucky Derby party, serve deviled eggs, country ham and biscuits, pecan pie and mint juleps. If it’s National Chocolate Day, serve various chocolates and pair them with wines.

5. All Well and Good

Wellness and well-being are hot topics for seniors, so displaying the community’s healthy and active lifestyle lets prospects see firsthand what they can expect if they move to your community.

  • Fitness demonstrations: A lively gathering with an instructor who makes fitness fun is a fantastic way to demonstrate how residents in your community stay active and healthy.
  • Nutrition talks: Your nutritionist and dietitian can discuss healthy eating and how your chef ensures menu items meet seniors’ unique nutritional needs.
  • Yoga class: Yoga promotes physical and mental well-being. Offer a brief introduction to yoga with a few easy exercises.
  • Meditation and mindfulness: Highlight your community’s meditation and mindfulness programs by showing a class in session and inviting visitors to join in.
  • Healthy lunch: Treat participants to a gourmet lunch in your dining room, highlighting the daily fare residents enjoy.

Quick Tips for Event Success

Once you decide on an event theme, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure the success of your event:

  1. Set a budget: Costs can get out of hand very quickly. So, make the tough decisions about what you can do that will add value.
  2. Decide on a hook: The hook is the creative idea that draws people in. Get team members from different departments to brainstorm exciting and relevant ideas.
  3. Give a gift: Have a take-home gift ready—a bottle of local wine from a tasting, a heat-and-eat meal from your chef from a cooking event or a branded water bottle from a fitness activity.
  4. Promotional tactics: Use a multi-channel approach and keep the messaging consistent throughout. Consider using your website, email invitations, direct mail, boosted social posts and print ads.
  5. Execute to perfection: Ensure other things are happening on campus the day of your event so your community is buzzing with activity. Encourage residents to open their doors and have activities happening in the common areas.
  6. Follow-up and nurture: Follow up with a message a week or two after the event with a personal thank-you note from the sales team and include a call to action for the next step.

Beyond the Ordinary

Creative, extraordinary marketing events go beyond showcasing amenities and services to create lasting memories. They also enhance your community’s appeal as a vibrant, engaging and fulfilling place where resident prospects can envision themselves living.

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