Seriously. Take a look at the web sites for the top senior living providers and see if you can spot the differences between them. I’ve posted a few screen shots from a few just to prove the point. Look at the mission statement graphic. Is there a senior living company in existence that doesn’t claim to do ALL of those same things?
- Friendly/Caring Staff
- Beautiful Rooms
- Great Food Service
- Fun Activities and Social Interaction
- Regular Laundry Services
- Transportation as Needed
- 24 hour emergency response system
- Etc., Etc., Etc.
So it is reasonable to assume all senior living communities are the same based on what they “claim” to be able to provide. Deeper understanding isn’t necessary. The only method to choose one from another would be whichever is cheapest. Make sense? It’s only where you will likely live the rest of your life.
To a person, my clients would say that is a ridiculous assertion. And they would be right.
Having been in literally hundreds of retirement communities all over the United
States I can say with certainty that while the list of offerings is similar, all senior living communities are NOT the same.
In about 100 ways that don’t show up well on paper, I could easily describe the difference between a run-down old building, with criminal care givers, operated by a fly-by-night company and a well run, thoughtfully built and superbly managed senior living community – maybe even operated by a equally high quality corporate owner. Every senior living executive knows instinctively that not all senior living companies, or communities, are created equal. Far from it!
So help me with this. Some of those same senior living executives – decision makers –believe that there is equality between all emergency call system providers simply because they claim to offer similar services. For example, most of us claim to provide:
- Wireless Pendants
- Pull Cords
- Smoke Detector Monitoring
- Management Reporting Software
- 3rd Party Integrations
- Etc., Etc., Etc.
Does not the same logic apply to our industry and theirs? You can’t have it both ways. Isn’t it the design, manufacture and delivery of products and services that makes ALL the difference? Of course. There seems to be a strong desire for the flexibility that comes from buying commodity products – multiple sources, hyper-competitive pricing, etc. But just pretending that a market is commoditized doesn’t make it true. It does, however, alter your perceptions – incorrectly and potentially dangerously.
If you are using a commodity-based mentality to judge a non-commodity product/service you will make two mistakes. 1) You will assume the low price companies are decent quality and just being competitive. Wrong. They are inexpensive because they are cheap and poorly made. 2) You will assume the high price companies are not better than the low price guys, they are just out of touch with current market prices. Wrong again.
In about 100 ways that don’t show up well on paper, I could describe the difference between a cheap PC based system, integrated with generic wireless components made by someone else, delivered by a clueless bunch of software guys, and a highly specialized emergency call system, made in America by a company that has invented nearly every feature of modern life safety systems, delivered and supported by the most experienced and committed emergency call professionals in the world.
So, no. Not all senior living communities are the same. Neither are emergency call companies.