One of the main reasons that marketing a senior living community is so challenging is because it’s easy to fall into the trap of advertising to older adults in a stereotypical way. In fact, a recent survey of 400 seniors aged 70 or more years revealed that 60% of respondents believed that most advertisements used stereotypes to represent older adults. Keeping that in mind, the following are a few advertising ideas to help you avoid senior living stereotypes.

1. Don’t be pushy or preachy

Many ads that target seniors tend to be on the condescending side. You’ll want to try to position yourself as an authority on the subject, but you won’t want to do so in a way that you’re telling your audience you know better than they do. This will come off as pushy or preachy, which is a tone you should avoid. Be factual and informative in an honest and respectful manner.

2. Focus on the individual, not the demographic

One of the biggest offenses in senior stereotyping is using actors who fit the general demographic of your audience and having them do something mundane, such as smiling while they drink a glass of wine and stare out into the distance. How is your audience supposed to relate to an image such as this one?

On the other hand, you also don’t want to depict a senior struggling to live on his or her own, such as someone being helped into bed because he or she is too feeble to function alone.

Instead of trying to represent an entire demographic by the extreme ends of the spectrum, focus on the individual. What does your target audience actually want and need out of a senior living community? Highlight purposeful activities, such as actively participating in the world and continuing to pursue their passions.

3. Show, don’t tell

Having someone speaking to the audience about the benefits of moving into your living community is a tired trope. It’s something that most seniors expect from a pamphlet.

Showing is much more effective than telling. A great example of a senior living community that did this focused on showing the day-to-day lives of its residents as they dined, exercised, played pool, painted and more — all without any dialogue whatsoever. As they always say, an image is worth a thousand words.

4. Entertain your audience

It seems as if many advertisers forget that older adults still like to be entertained and that they have great senses of humor. You don’t need to be deadly serious when marketing toward seniors. Try to entertain them and appeal to their senses of humor. You’ll find that they’ll be much more engaged as a result.

Many senior living communities fail to market to a senior audience effectively because they fall into the trap of using advertising ideas that rely on senior stereotypes. Seniors recognize these stereotypes and do not appreciate them, which means that you will have difficulty generating interest in your community. Use these advertising ideas to help avoid stereotyping seniors in your marketing efforts.

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