An elderly couple embracing, enjoying an outdoor meal with the family in a courtyard.
(Credit: Twenty47studio / Getty Images)

Food service company Aramark announced its planned re-entry into senior living and care last November at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting. The effort now is in full swing as Aramark SeniorLIFE+, with help from marketing and sales consulting agency Varsity.

“Everything that we had to do to launch this business has been done within the past four months, and we are up and running full-steam. And if this were any other organization, this would be at least a year project, maybe more,” said Natalie Rose-Miller, director of marketing and communications at Aramark.

Aramark SeniorLIFE+ provides dining and nutrition services, environmental services, facility management, technology and amenities that tie into a community’s concierge, activities and social engagement offerings.

A new offering, Rose-Miller said, is providing travel opportunities to state parks and hotels “for seniors that still want to travel that aren’t able to travel on their own.”

“We can actually help organize that and take residents through the community,” she said. 

She likened the experience to college students taking a study-abroad course. Older adults can spend a long weekend or a week and “have that experience but be within a group that’s trusted in a location that’s trusted and is part of our industry, part of our company. It’s interesting things like that which are going to be needed as we move forward to help target and cast a net to pull in the boomers that are aging.”

Through Aramark SeniorLIFE+, the company is entering a category — senior living and care — that is on the rise.

“We’re going down the path of accelerated services,” Rose-Miller said. “So if we have a client that has a need for something specific, the lines of business within Aramark most likely can lend support to help us tweak and support those communities.”

The company chose Varsity for its marketing and branding needs, Aramark SeniorLIFE+ CEO Joe Gorman said in a statement on Thursday, because “a senior living campaign requires an extremely focused knowledge of the end user of our services, but also a knowledge of the decision-makers at the communities we’ll be working with. Varsity knows both audiences better than anyone.”

Varsity created a brand story, website elements, a brochure and other sales materials. 

Varsity President Derek Dunham told the McKnight’s Business Daily on Monday that November’s announcement was essentially a soft launch of Aramak’s foray back into senior living and care. Now, he said, “The website is up, all of the materials are ready to go, so it’s now a fully formed unit and is more aggressively able to pursue opportunities.”

Dunham called Gorman “a visionary and a trailblazer” and said he thinks that Aramark SeniorLIFE+ is well-positioned to face the country’s changing demographics caused by the aging of the Baby Boom generation, with members born between 1946 and 1964.