While "dropping the F-bomb" is becoming more acceptable in common, daily vocabulary, there is another "F- word" that is no longer taken lightly in the world of senior real estate and housing.
In an effort to shed a more positive light and differentiate themselves from the "nursing homes" of days gone by, you will hear people in the seniors housing and care industry use the word "facility" less and less in regard to senior housing options.
As a real estate agent specializing in the mature market it's important to know the language of your target audiences. And remember, you have more than one target audience. Here are things to consider in your "F- word" usage:
When you are the new kid on the block at your networking group of aging services professionals, use the word "community" in place of "facility." For example: "I understand you are the marketing director at the XYZ Assisted Living Community"?
If you are speaking with the adult child of an aging parent who is about to move, the adult child may say something like "Mom's care facility is very nice." While there is no need to correct them, you can always mirror and match what they said with something along the line of "Yes, I have always found that facility to be one of the nicer communities in the area."
Seniors who are contemplating a move to an independent or assisted living community may refer to it as they perceive it:
A) I am moving to "the home."
B) I am moving to a facility.
As with any client - in the rapport building stage - you want to mirror and match their language. After you have established rapport you can more easily reframe words or use the more widely-accepted terms. This may also help them to see their move in a more positive manner because we place "meaning" on the words we hear or say.
4) How to refer to the "facility" or "community" on your public platforms (Facebook, blogs, LinkedIn, etc.) is a bit trickier. You actually may wish to mix it up in order to appeal to the varying target audiences you are speaking to. While using "community" rather than "facility" shows your professional connections that you are current on your aging nomenclature (oooh, big word!), it is not the keyword that consumers or caregivers will type when searching online for senior housing options.
On blogs, use "community."
In web copy, integrate both so you may benefit from SEO while also showing your level of knowledge in your field.
Make no mistake: The "F-word" is still being used, but with the new generation of baby boomers on the horizon, it will likely continue to be phased out little by little. You know the REAL pro's in the industry because they rarely and sparingly use the "F" word.
|Nikki Buckelew is the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation. A veteran REALTOR® of over two decades, she holds a bachelor’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. As a professional speaker, coach, and trainer, Nikki is committed to empowering, equipping, and educating real estate sales and senior housing professionals seeking to better serve the mature market segment.