Senior Woman Smelling a FlowerAre families touring your community but leaving without making a commitment? A few simple changes to your environment can help with this.

Turning Senior Living Community Guests into Residents

You greet a family of five that has come to tour your senior living community. They are looking for a safe, happy home for Mom. When you talk, you learn that yours is the third residence they have visited today. They seem tired but hopeful that today will be the day they find the perfect place. They are obviously impressed with the welcoming atmosphere of your reception area. They are eager to see the rest of the community.

Yet when they leave, what a change! They hurry by you with brief glances and tight smiles. They express no interest in making a commitment. There are no questions. What could have happened to make such a difference?

When families and prospective clients are taking a tour, it’s as if your entire community is being interviewed. That doesn’t mean that visitors expect perfection everywhere they look. Families who have been acting as caregivers understand if a resident is having a bad day. What they expect—and are impressed by—is that the surroundings project competence, concern, and the ability to give Mom or Dad the best care possible. This should be apparent not only in the reception area, but in your dining hall, rooms, corridors, and common areas.

Let’s take a virtual tour.


As you guide your group through the hallway, you are intent on your destination. But what is the family noticing? Are the walls clean and freshly painted? Is there attractive artwork hung at eye level (maybe even artwork done by residents)? Does your group hear pleasant conversation between happy staff and residents, or are staff snapping orders at each other? Is there a soothing hint of lavender or lemon verbena in the air—or the harsh overwhelming sting of disinfectant?

You move to the dining hall. Visitors will expect to see spotless tables, laundered and pressed tablecloths, and perhaps some cheerful flowers or candle centerpieces. Music playing softly (so that diners can converse) is a nice touch. Kitchen smells should not be strong or intrusive (no one wants to encounter halibut first thing in the morning!) Instead, a savory aroma (think gingerbread or warm bread) should tantalize your guests.

On to one of the activity rooms. These should not look cold and sterile, but busy and alive. There should be plenty of interesting, fun projects in evidence. Perhaps residents are painting a mural. There might be nearly-finished baby blankets for donation to the local hospital. Someone may be raising African Violets on an east-facing windowsill. Lots of light allows residents to focus on their work without eye strain or headaches. There is an invigorating fragrance in the room, like a summer breeze, or the air after a brief rain shower.

By the time a family has toured your community and seen all that you have to offer, they will be confident that their search is over.


3810 Shutterfly Rd.

Charlotte, NC 28217

p: +1.704.504.2320

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