As the senior population continues to grow, the senior care industry is becoming increasingly more competitive. While assisted living and memory care communities continue to reach capacity, adult day programs offer a different type of care. A safe, structured environment during the day while younger caregivers go to work or spouses have a few hours to rest or get errands done is a service that is much more affordable than residential care. Often caregivers who keep their loved ones at home are less likely to reach out for help and are found to be experiencing caregiver burnout. It’s imperative to try to reach this population prior to a crisis, and start providing services to extend their preferred living arrangement. Where is marketing best applied to reach the target audience?
- Senior Centers While this may be an obvious place to start, be creative in your approach. It may be worth asking a senior center to do a collaborative event/party with the day center participants as a volunteer opportunity for the senior center members. Spending some time with the day center participants will not only be beneficial to everyone but will also get the word out.
- Churches Make a connection with the clergy of churches in your community and inform them of the services your company provides in case there are crisis calls they receive. This is especially useful if your day center offers crisis drop-ins.
- Libraries Often libraries offer programs specifically catered to seniors of the community; ask about the potential opportunity to host one of these programs by providing refreshments in exchange for permission to have a table of materials at the event.
- Assisted Living Communities While they may be considered competitors, if you can collaborate with an assisted living community to share referrals it would be mutually beneficial. Prospects who tour a community but aren’t ready to make the move may find that adult day services would allow them to stay in their current living situation longer; those who attend your day center and are ready to make a move to a memory care community likely would appreciate a referral from those they currently trust to care for their loved one.
- Support Groups If there are active support groups in your area, connecting with them is a great way to find potential day center participants. If there aren’t any (or many) support groups, consider starting one! Offer quarterly educational classes to the community at large featuring speakers on dementia and aging. If your budget allows, host a meal to coincide the speaker.
While there are many contacts in a community who may make a referral to adult day services, collaboration is key to lasting success. By working with the organizations in your area, you will be able to share referrals to not only fill your day center openings but also create more dementia-friendly community. Think outside the box to come up with fun collaborative events like music concerts, picnics or barbecues, educational events, and volunteer opportunities to integrate your day center participants with the greater community and word will spread quickly about your offerings!