I have theories about things. It’s a perfectly risk-free pastime, since I never have to prove any of them. It’s just my opinion, after all, based on a rumination, which grew out of a random thought, which began as a mere zygote of a formless hunch.
So here’s my simplistic theory about how to market senior care: Don’t. Getting people into your building isn’t a marketing problem. It’s an acceptance of reality problem. You just need to help them understand that your product isn’t an unwelcome off-ramp from life, to be loathed and denied. Senior care IS life. Those of us fortunate enough to live to a ripe old age will probably need help. Resistance is futile.
You might start the process of re-education by standing outside your building with a megaphone and a copy of “Desiderata,” an inspirational work by author Max Ehrmann written way back in 1927. “Take kindly the counsel of the years,” you could shout, “gracefully surrendering the things of youth.” People will look at you funny, but the seed will be planted and perceptions will change. Especially once they hear it’s also one of Leonard Nimoy’s favorite poems.
The main obstacle in your crusade will always be denial. People are long-term-care-phobic because of our society’s crazily skewed and injurious definition of what true independence is. But since I’m not an undaunted pioneer in frontier America, fighting bears and clearing forests with a pocketknife, when it comes that time for me, I won’t care to prove an empty point about my strength and self-reliance. I’ll just want to be independent from fear, loneliness, yard work and bad food. And that’s what you offer.
Underneath the dread and stigma, what you’re selling is nothing more than a little help for the next inevitable step on life’s magical mystery tour. So feel free to use my clever new marketing slogan: “Senior care — it’s just what happens.”