I recently received another question related to Covid and resident census in assisted living facilities. The question was actually asking for my advice on refilling a facility after Covid but the fact is that, as of this writing, we’re still in the midst of Covid.
Yes, there have been some wonderful developments with vaccines becoming more widely available. Many assisted living facilities have completed vaccination programs for their staff and residents, while others are still working toward that goal.
The vaccination programs around the world provide a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel but it will be months before we approach anything resembling normal life again.
So how do you maintain or increase the census in your assisted living facility today?
I think the answer to that question starts with doing the things you should be doing all the time – the fundamentals of sales and marketing for your assisted living facility. But there is even more that you can do during the days of Covid.
Here is a short list of some ideas I’ve watched others use successfully:
- Communication is key. You communicate with residents, families, referral sources, and community members in many ways – broadcast emails, Facebook posts, other social media posts, and more. Now is the time to use all of those channels to tell stories about what your team is doing to keep residents safe, to arrange for vaccines, to help residents endure the difficulties, and more. While you’re informing stakeholders about Covid issues, you’re also helping them learn why your assisted living community is the right choice for someone they know.
- It’s no secret that arranging a vaccine can be a challenge for many people, including many who might be ready to become your next resident. Are you able to help them arrange for their vaccine? That could make the difference between that potential resident joining you, or another assisted living facility in your city.
- Word of mouth is powerful. When you have good news, share it! This is back to communication but it’s important to encourage positive word-of-mouth marketing to help you. You can do this by creating things that are easy for residents, their families, and all your stakeholders to share with others. That might be a Facebook post about an event or an email that describes a special offer. Take the time to share good news, and take extra time to make it easier for others to share.
- Make magic happen. Some of the most powerful scenes that I’ve seen lately from assisted living facilities have been special moments for residents. The lockdown fatigue is beyond any limits we thought we’d endure. And necessity has fostered some amazing creativity. A few recent examples included: 1) an elementary class ‘adopting’ an assisted living resident and then all of them singing happy birthday to the resident via Zoom, 2) grandchildren visiting outdoors and rolling up a big snowman for all the residents of an assisted living facility, 3) and window tic-tac-toe with grandchildren outside and grandparents inside. These moments mean the world to your residents, and they provide magical marketing opportunities for you to share.
There is so much more that you can do to maintain your census during Covid – this is just a short list of ideas.
Please leave a comment and share what you’ve done to help make your residents’ days better, and to help maintain your census during Covid.