By Kayla Murphy, PR & Integrated Media Manager
Recently, as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I saw a post on Facebook featuring an artist’s concept of what United States money could look like if it was redesigned to highlight scientific achievements instead of presidents. The newly designed bills were gorgeous – as denominations became larger, so did the physical bill. Bright colors helped further distinguish each denomination, and there were some really great photos featured. At the time I happened to look at the photo, one of the comments said, “Money should be green.”
After reading that I let out a heavy sigh. It seemed a rather shortsighted comment to me. “Money should be green.” That’s it. No explanation, no discussion of WHY money should be green. Just that it should.
This comment has stuck with me – forcing me to sit down and write this blog. And not because of its wit or deep insight or even charm, but because it resonates with me as yet another instance where people automatically default to an idea simply because, “it’s the way we’ve always done things,” or “the current way is the only way.” (And yes, I’ve heard both of these statements used many times.) And yes, we see this on a regular basis in our work with senior living organizations – it’s a process we see both our clients and in some cases even ourselves struggle with.
“We’ve always had all-staff meetings every Monday.” “We’ve never allowed staff members to access social media.” “There have to be six people in the review process.” “We only use direct mail.” “We don’t ever do online advertising.” “Seniors don’t use social media.” “That’s always been Sue’s responsibility.”
How many times have you heard a similar statement?
It’s not enough to continue to do things the way they’ve always been done. Continuing to stick to a workflow that has become outdated will not help your retirement community grow. In the senior living field, the wants and needs of a new retiree are changing, rapidly.
Baby Boomers make up 26% of the U.S. population, and as Pew Research Center notes, “By force of numbers alone, they almost certainly will redefine old age in America, just as they’ve made their mark on teen culture, young adult life and middle age.”
Though Baby Boomers aren’t quite at the age of moving into a CCRC, the question remains – what will they be expecting? What does your community offer to this new generation? This is the generation of people who weren’t satisfied with the status quo, who fought for equal rights, and who spent days listening to music in a field in upstate New York, who marched on Washington. For this generation, “the way we’ve always done things” is not a good answer.
Now is the time to reevaluate where your retirement community currently sits.
Are you using the same general processes you’ve been using for five years? A decade? When was the last time you analyzed your amenities? Your policies? Your physical infrastructure? Your technological capabilities?
Now is the time. This won’t be an easy task, but it will be a worthwhile task. Sit and think about where you want your CCRC to be in 5 years, 10 years, 25 years and beyond.
Now is the time to accept Larry Minnix’s challenge to think bigger. Here are examples of small thinking vs. big thinking from Larry:
- Small thinking: We don’t have money for a technology.
- Big thinking: We will partner with colleague members and technology firms to create ways in which technology can improve quality of life for current and future people we serve.
Note the difference – one thought is fine with staying where the retirement community currently is. It accepts the status quo, and needs new prospects to do the same. The second encourages growth, change, and enables the community to adapt to the rapidly changing technology landscape.
Which retirement community would YOU choose?
Now is the time for you to paint your ideal world. Once your image of the ideal world is created, gather a strong team to overcome potential hurdles and help your retirement community achieve your big thinking goals.
by: Kayla Murphy, Public Relations & Integrated Media Manager