For a variety of reasons, many adult children serve as caregivers — either part-time or full-time — for senior parents. In most cases, caregivers act out of love and concern, but the physical and emotional toll can be great.
If your community offers assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing, adult children or other caregivers may play a role in the decision-making process with senior loved ones. In some cases, family caregivers may have sole responsibility for deciding whether to continue providing care in the home or moving their relative to senior housing.
There’s no question that senior living options can relieve the significant burden that many family caregivers bear. Caregiving demands can be significant, especially for individuals who also work outside the home or who have children of their own. Without adequate support, caregivers can pay a price in stress and burnout, which can impact relationships and lead to health problems.
How can you leverage real testimonials of caregivers who have found a solution for their aging parent in your community?
Understand the Emotional Factors
Many adult children choose to provide care in a parent’s home or their own home rather than choosing a senior living option, despite the often-overwhelming demands of caregiving.
In some cases, seniors have expressed their desire not to go into senior living, and loved ones try to honor their wishes. For many adult children, the idea of putting Mom or Dad “into a home” induces strong feelings of guilt.
Some family members worry that the care provided in a senior living community will not be as caring or personal as their parent would receive at home. Adult children may fear that their parent won’t be happy in senior living, will be lonely, and will miss their familiar surroundings and family members.
Your marketing messaging will need to reassure adult children and other family caregivers that in your community their loved one will enjoy a secure, homelike environment staffed by compassionate individuals who truly care about the well-being of seniors.
Uncover Compelling Stories
To begin using caregiver testimonials, you’ll first need to reach out to individuals who provided care to a relative and discovered your community as a solution. Persuading caregivers to tell you their stories — and to allow you to use the stories publicly — is a vital first step in leveraging testimonials in your marketing program.
The best source for finding willing caregivers is likely to be your staff members. Nurses, nursing assistants, social workers and other employees who provide care and interact directly with residents are the most likely sources for suggesting caregivers who may be happy to tell their stories.
Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials. In many cases, caregivers may be so relieved that your community has provided an alternative to care at home that they will be more than willing to share their stories.
If caregivers seem hesitant, you can share with them that you feel that your community can help other caregivers and that their information will be invaluable in pointing out the benefits your community can offer.
Using Caregiver Testimonials in Your Marketing
Once you’ve identified former caregivers who are willing to tell their stories about the benefits your community has provided, how do you record those testimonials and leverage them in your marketing program?
First, you’ll need a writer who is experienced with senior living communities to interview the caregivers and record their stories. Your writer should be familiar with your community and should have experience speaking with residents’ family members to have the framework for asking the right questions.
Once you’ve gathered some written stories, you can determine the appropriate presentation format. Depending on your marketing needs and the platforms you have available, you may want to have audio or video interviews or testimonials produced.
Testimonials also may be appropriate for incorporation into print, audio or video advertising and into a longer promotional video about your community.
In addition, you can use snippets and quotes from your testimonials throughout your print materials and website, and you can repurpose the information into blog posts and other materials in the future.
Caregiver testimonials must be genuine. If you have caregivers who are willing to provide a testimonial for your community, you have a unique opportunity to capture an honest voice that can engage prospective residents and their family members.