Older adults and their adult children prioritize different aspects of senior living when considering retirement communities, according to new research from Tempe, AZ-based marketing agency Zion & Zion.

“Communicating to all audiences and taking into consideration their respective deal-makers and deal-breakers should be addressed in all senior living community marketing communications,” the report’s four authors wrote.

Cost was the primary consideration for both prospective residents and their adult children, although it was more important to the prospective residents. Zion & Zion said the finding means that sharing pricing information online is important. “[T]ransparency can be created by showing ‘starting at’ pricing or sharing information on the residency agreement options,” the report authors suggested.

Zion & Zion surveyed 1,021 adults aged 75 or more years who lived in their own homes or with their adult children, and interviewed their adult children, too. Differences in opinion were most evident in three areas:

  • Access to healthcare was seen as much more important to adult children than to their parents, with 35% of older adults believing it is important but 56% of adult children viewing it as critical.
  • Security and safety also were more important to adult children than to their parents, with 44% of seniors saying those factors are important but 57% of adult children rating them as such.
  • Amenities outside of the community were more important to older adults than to their children, with 46% of seniors thinking that nearby businesses such as banks, retail stores and supermarkets were important, whereas only 38% of their adult children saw them as worthy of consideration. “Showcasing the proximity of destinations surrounding the retirement community will lessen the fear a person is moving away from the familiarity of their neighborhood when they move to a community,” the report noted.

In addition to cost and nearby businesses, prospective residents placed more emphasis on location and climate than did their children. In addition to access to healthcare and safety and security, adult children placed more emphasis on activities, on-site dining options, wellness programs and amenities, community/campus landscape and online reviews than did their parents.

Even though prospective residents and their children expressed different levels of interest in on-site dining options, wellness programs and amenities, community/campus landscape and online reviews, all of those factors ranked in the same order of importance on the list of 10 factors ranked by both older adults and their adult children. Both groups rated online reviews as the least important factor in finding a community.