If this is the year you've decided to focus on your SRES® designation and use it to raise your profile in your community, here are five strategies for connecting with locals.
1. Boost your online visibility. Despite the perception that older people lack tech-savviness, AARP research shows a significant online presence among those aged 50-plus. In 2023, 70% used Facebook, and 51% used YouTube. Create content for both platforms, focusing on topics that capture this audience's attention and help them address their current and future housing needs.
2. Build your network. Consider the services and expertise older clients need and build relationships with providers of those services. By assembling a team of specialists, you'll be prepared when a client calls in a crisis and needs help ASAP. Your network could include financial planners, estate attorneys, aging-in-place specialists, decluttering and downsizing professionals, contractors, plumbers, interior designers, and home stagers. Connecting with other professionals also creates an opportunity for mutual support and referrals.
3. Engage with your community. Get out in the community at senior centers, libraries, and local events to talk about yourself, your services, and how you're uniquely suited to help with residents' housing needs as they age. Consider collaborating with other experts in your network—aging-in-place specialists, financial planners, and so forth—to co-present with you.
Possible topics could include:
- Aging-in-place – Explore home modifications like ramps, grab bars, and smart technology that make it easier and safer to age at home.
- Smart home technology – Discuss devices such as video doorbells, smart locks, motion sensors, and voice-controlled thermostats that allow for remote monitoring and control.
- Downsizing – Share advice about downsizing options and tips on choosing favorite furniture, artwork, and home decor items when moving to a smaller home.
- Moving and relocation – Highlight the benefits of hiring senior moving experts. They can lighten the load by establishing goals, creating timelines, assisting with decluttering, and managing the donation or sale of household items.
- Green home upgrades – Talk about simple upgrades, including LED lighting, smart thermostats, better insulation, low-flow water fixtures, and energy-efficient appliances that can help homeowners save money on utility bills and increase their comfort. For information, see Energy Star and Rewiring America
4. Know the local housing options. Familiarize yourself with senior housing trends and local buildings with senior-friendly amenities. Also, be ready to clarify the distinctions among housing options offering a care component. Often, people only start looking at assisted living during a crisis. Former clients or their children might contact you in such situations, seeking immediate information, advice, and referrals.
Tip: Get to know the managers of local senior living facilities. This way, when clients call for help with assisted living or nursing homes, you'll have an inside connection to share.
5. Establish a caretaking referral network. Be prepared with referrals for clients needing temporary in-home help during an illness or recovery. Include contacts for personal care, cleaning, meal preparation, transportation, and pet care.