Senior Living Options Abound - Each Requires a 'Touch of Hospitality - By John Hendrie

I have a close friend, who just turned the ripe old age of 65. Health is excellent, a vigorous citizen, finances steady – a young fellow in an aging body. He had several things to consider upon reaching this threshold.

LRA Worldwide The first was to muddle through Medicare.  This was a vast exercise in confusion and data-overload.  By the way, with the Boomers on the brink, this Medicare miasma represents quite a niche for consulting.  That hurdle was conquered, eventually.  He is all set with brand new coverage cards, which must now be laminated.

Secondly, he had to consider and plan his financial picture.  We hear the term “Retirement Planning”.  For many of us that has a nice ring from several years ago.  Now, post-recession and stock portfolio melt-down, not many of us will see that luxury – annual trips abroad, daily golf outings, casual fishing from the wharfs; the scope has changed, where now we look at activities to supplement our income.  Each of us has those different financial needs and constraints.

Housing in the future becomes the next logistical frontier, and that landscape is wild and wooly.  So, we first look at our current circumstances.  We may still reside in the family abode, or, perhaps, we have already “downsized” to a condo.  Any decision we make for the next generational move will be highly driven by the value of our current housing.  A good exercise, by the way, is to have a real estate agent do a “comparable” (Opinion of Value study) for you (like or similar homes/properties which have been sold in the last few years).  My friend did this and found that the Opinion varied from the assessed value by one fifth, less.  The exercise could impact your taxes, positively, but home sale pricing might be way lower than you anticipated – the money you might need to move into that Senior Living sphere.

So, where does that “Touch of Hospitality” enter the picture?  I would say on two fronts:

  1.  Helping you to make a decision, and
  2. Creating an environment where you can live comfortably, pleasurably
Hospitality has so many excellent “booking” systems out there, regarding accommodations, amenities and destinations.  You select a location, type of room, room amenities, as well as property, activities in the area, etc., and, of course, price.  Considering a Senior Living location is very similar to a search for a hotel.  There are so many choices:  retirement communities, various levels of assisted care facilities, as well as medical, Hospice and Alzheimer specialties.  So, I want a fireplace, one bedroom, a centralized dining option, in Arizona, near golf courses for   $4,000-$6,000 a month.  Book it, Dano!   (Let me see the choices and specs)

The encore for Hospitality really resides within the community which is selected.  As the requirements progress or become more tiered, dependent upon the physical and medical needs, these communities must first responsibly care for their residents.  But, that does not demand a sterile or antiseptic approach to relationships and service.  Residents (Guests) still want to be appreciated, respected and served cordially with professionalism. They want a clean, well maintained facility (Lord, we have scrapped paint for decades ourselves).  They want a product which provides entertainment and activity – from art therapy to swimming and tennis. The service factor does become the great differentiator in these communities and should not be price-point restricted.

The Senior Living sector is really sprawling, growing.  The competition is intense.  Being 65 is the new 50.  Health does change the dynamic but not the spirit.  Organizations which understand this will prosper, and those who embrace Hospitality aspects will lead the industry.  It is about the Experience!  Make it happen.


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