The American Seniors Housing Association has launched a new consumer campaign, “Where You Live Matters,” designed to educate older adults and their families about housing options that are available to help them age well. The campaign, the announcement of which was timed to coincide with the organization’s annual meeting, includes a new website and efforts on Twitter and Facebook.

The need for consumer education “is something that the industry has talked about for probably 20 years,” ASHA President David Schless tells McKnight’s Senior Living. A strategic planning process that ASHA began in 2014 identified it as a top priority for the organization, he adds.

The campaign is a chance for ASHA members and other providers to help older adults take control of their futures, Schless says, noting that older adults who move into a senior living community often wish they had done so sooner. “It’s a common message,” he says. “For a lot of people, it’s inertia. They delay the decision because it’s overwhelming. There are just too many things to think about, and as a result, they don’t do anything.” Videos on the website featuring senior living residents talking about their experiences may alleviate concerns and spur site visitors into action, he says.

Jim Bowe of GlenAire HealthCare, who led a committee advising ASHA on the website and social media efforts, tells McKnight’s Senior Living: “When you look at senior living, whether it’s independent living apartments or memory care or free-standing assisted living or continuing care retirement communities, which will include a skilled nursing component, there are many different choices and many different price points. …The idea to start thinking ahead and looking at your choices is very, very important in this whole initiative.”

The website is part of ASHA’s five-year strategic initiative to provide older adults, their adult children and others with senior housing information. Other industry groups, such as Argentum, formerly the Assisted Living Federation of America, are coordinating their efforts with ASHA. Argentum President and CEO James Balda previously told McKnight’s Senior Living that his organization will play a supporting role in ASHA’s consumer campaign and other industry efforts while it works directly on issues such as workforce development and quality standards.

In addition to Bowe, the committee of representatives from senior living organizations and others advising ASHA in the development of the website and social media efforts included:

  • Doug Schiffer, Allegro Senior Living;
  • Jeff DeBevec, Belmont Village Senior Living;
  • David Carliner, Brightview Senior Living;
  • Jonathan Ruchman, Brookdale Senior Living;
  • Meg Ostrom, Enlivant;
  • Letitia Jackson, Senior Star;
  • Meghan Lublin and Sara Abriatis, Sunrise Senior Living;
  • Dan McConnell, ASHA’s public relations consultant;
  • Margaret Wylde, Ph.D., ProMatura Group; and

The video currently on the site — of families and staff members as well as residents — was shot over five days in August at five different communities in the Chicago area, Bowe says. ASHA will be asking providers to contribute additional videos from their own communities so that new content always is available.

ASHA also will be asking providers to promote the campaign and place links to the Where You Live Matters website and social media on their own websites, Schless says. “The website is a public service that can help them,” he adds.