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5 Strategies to Boost Resident Occupancy at Your Senior Living Community

It’s official: senior living occupancy is bouncing back (with demand even outpacing new supply). Here, we discuss five ways your community can achieve – and sustain – higher occupancy numbers while continuing to deliver exemplary experiences to your residents, families, and staff.

1. Incorporate Dimensions of Wellness into Your Life Enrichment Program

Over the past ten years or so, we’ve seen a shift in how senior living communities operate. Once thought of primarily as an extension of clinical-based care, senior living has broadened to include wellness-driven lifestyles.

And residents have been citing this wellness as a key reason they chose their community since 2017.

If you want to grow your occupancy – whether from the active adult segment or from a broader base of adults that value holistic health – try connecting more of your life enrichment programming to the eight dimensions of wellness.

[Related reading: Clear Eyes, Full Attendance Sheets, Can’t Lose: A Life Enrichment Playbook from Icon]

With the right senior living technology (such as interoperable digital calendars) staff members can program events with various dimensions in mind, separate events by wellness dimension, and gather data from the wellness-based activities they run.

This tech also makes it easy for residents to see which events correspond to certain dimensions of wellness. This means if a resident wants to, say, improve their cardiovascular health, they can look at their digital calendar and immediately spot which events are for physical wellness.

2.  Launch a Membership Day Program for Prospective Residents

One great way to increase occupancy? Give older adults a taste of what life is like in your senior living community through a day pass program. These types of programs don’t just help grow your bottom line via day pass fees; they can also help you build a pipeline of prospective residents.

For example, let’s say you launch a membership day program that gives visitors access to your wellness programming, dining options, and other community amenities (recreation center, art studio, technology hubs, etc.). This gives older adults the ability to engage with your community – without feeling the need to rush into a decision about where they’ll live.

(Side note: these are great programs for taking advantage of resident referrals as they require minimal commitment from visitors and let your community do the talking for you.)

3. Leverage Your Senior Living Technology As a Differentiator in Sales Outreach

As occupancy bounces back so too have communities’ budgets – which makes investing in technology platforms an easier decision for leadership. And that’s a good thing because your senior living technology is a major draw for the increasingly tech-friendly older adult population.

So highlight your technology as a differentiator in conversations with potential residents and their families. You might…

  • Build email campaigns around the effectiveness of your digital calendar system. Did activity attendance rates increase after deploying your calendar tool? Did satisfaction rates skyrocket? Mention that!
  • Offer loved ones trial accounts to your family engagement platform. Moving to a senior living community is a big step for older adults and their loved ones. Use free trials to show how your technology keeps family members connected.
  • Develop sales pitches around your successful technology adoption. If you’re the only community within 50 miles that’s implemented a full suite of senior living tech, you may want to highlight that as a competitive differentiator.

If your technology is making life better for residents, chances are it can make life better for your salespeople, too. And when your salespeople are crushing their quotas, your entire community benefits.

4. Promote Your Community on Social Media Platforms 

Older adults’ social media usage has grown 400 percent over the past 10 years. And with the younger sandwich generation taking on a crucial role in long-term care planning, your community’s social media presence can’t be an afterthought – it can, however, be a way to boost occupancy rates.

How? First, create or revive your accounts on Facebook and Instagram. Have any fun events planned? (Maybe you have a pickleball competition or a Fourth of July picnic.) Post pictures of them.

Want to communicate how much your residents love living in your community? Consider offering “resident takeovers” of your social media accounts. With these takeovers, individual residents can post from your community’s accounts and document what goes on during a typical day in your community.

For a more in-depth guide on best posting practices, check out our blog: How Your Life Enrichment Program Can Create Great Social Media Content

5. Reduce Staff Turnover with Time-Saving Tech

Your staff members forge close relationships with residents – and thus, help encourage referrals down the line. When you keep those employees around, your community flourishes and grows. One way to retain your dedicated staff during a caregiver shortage? Free up their workloads.

Maybe you use generative AI tools to automate tasks like building emergency communication templates. Maybe you adopt bi-directional communication tools that let staff send messages to segmented audiences with the tap of a button. Maybe you adopt a digital calendar that reduces time spent on calendar management by 80 percent.

A bonus: the same technology you adopt to save staff time and reduce turnover will also help you deliver more personalized care to residents. And that personalization goes a long way toward driving positive reviews and occupancy rates.

When Evaluating Resident Satisfaction, Let Data Be Your Guide

Happy residents serve as the bedrock for any growth plans you may have for your community. In other words, if you’re concerned with growing your senior living occupancy rates, look first to your resident satisfaction rates.

Are the residents under your care very satisfied? Any standout aspects of your community? Any common pain points? Once you’ve aggregated and analyzed these insights, you can then craft a plan that plays to your strengths, attracts new residents, and ensures current residents have an iconic aging experience.Of course, to do this, you need senior living technology with comprehensive reporting hubs. To learn more about this technology, shoot us a message!

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