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What Seniors and their Children want?

This will be a short marketing musing.

I had a lunch with a friend, who had recently heard a well known Atlanta real estate developer discuss the differences between what and where current seniors wish to call home and what their adult children desire their parents to call home.  The thesis is that seniors wish to stay in their own home, aging in place; however, once the adult child becomes involved in a parent’s care, they would rather that their parent leave their home and move to a residential setting that includes care services.

It’s a provocative thesis for community based providers, of which I am one.  I can’t agree completely with the premise, as I’ve known many families to work heroically to keep their loved one’s in their homes and out of assisted living and skilled nursing settings.  Yet, as I witness more and more assisted living facilities being built, the competition increases for the attention of the Baby Boomer adult child, many of whom are choosing the residential option for their parents.

This is a key marketing questions for the senior care business leader: whose desires reign supreme.  Much of the literature suggests that the Senior wants to stay put and live the rest of their days in the family home.  But, what if the decision maker is increasingly the adult child and their interests no longer coincides with their parent’s wishes.

If the interests of the Senior and their adult children are increasingly diverging, the implications are significant.  Some areas that warrant further consideration:

  • How do our target markets change?
  • Where should we locate our businesses?
  • How do sales and marketing strategies change and evolve?
  • How sensitive to the local demographics is this divergence?
  • If the community is newer, wealthier, younger, or older than average, does that skew the results one way or the other?
  • Are we seeing a change in what adult care giving children want for their parents and their lives?

These questions are just a start.  What I do know is that there are very few interactions with our Senior consumers that do not involve their adult children.  This is true even when the primary caregiver is a spouse.  Understanding the relationship between the two is key to the success of the community based senior care business.

What are your thoughts?  What business implications do you see in the evolving relationship between the senior and their children?