Make Your Senior Care Business Unlike Competitors

Friday, 4 April, 2014

There’s a new senior home care service (or adult living community) in town.

And that’s bad news… more options for your clients to choose!

It’s bad news because thanks to the other four home care agencies (or adult living communities), adults and family caregivers now have five care agencies to choose.

The problem is that each senior home care agency, relative to the other four, offers its own unique combination of personal care, meal preparation, homemaker, companion care, transportation, and potentially RN services for varying hourly contracts, price, comfort, knowledge and training, experienced caregivers, to name just a few of the most salient variables.

As a result, different people possess wildly distinct views on which senior home care agency is “the best.”

The people who hire you would prefer that you were as easy to choose a TV cable company. Why? Because it’s easier to make a buying decision when all the choices are similar or the same. Most seniors and family caregivers want to line you up, side by side with the other senior services and pick the cheapest one.

And why shouldn’t they? All buyers no matter what the product or service is – prefer to make a simple decision based on price. It makes our life easier.

You, however, want to be a senior home care agency. You don’t want the comparison to be simple and you definitely don’t want the decision to be based on price.

Rather, you want prospective home care customers to see you as the one and only viable option for their unique bundle of needs and preferences. Either they hire you, or they don’t get anything – no one agency fits their needs.

Solution: Don’t put yourself in a side by side comparisons – they are meaningless. And know that these types of decisions based on price are impossible.

1. Don’t be standard. If you describe yourself as simply “a senior home care agency” you open the door for your potential clients to use price as the differentiator.

If, on the other hand, you are a “chef who specializes in plant based diet cooking foods that lower cholesterol” you cloudy the decision filtering, making side by side comparison difficult.

2. Don’t sell time. Charging by the hour is the equivalent of pricing by the number of TV channels. It evokes standardization – puts you in a box for prospects to stack and sort.

Why not then package your senior care services – for a flat fee – using a unique name and with lots of elements mixed together? This will eliminate putting you in a box.

3. Be authentic. Don’t look and act the same as your competitors. If you do, then your clients will ask what your hourly rate is.

4. Step outside the box by drawing attention to your real differences. (Don’t tell prospective clients that your home care agency hires only  “experienced, trustworthy professionals”  – that’s not a differenciator – your competitors all do!

5. Consider a unique pricing scheme – all you can use home care services. Think of a compelling back story – “The owner’s mom and dad lives with them and pitches in to care for his children”.

In other words…. DIFFERENTIATE! Read “Differentiating Your Home Care and Adult Living Community”.

Remember: Consumers – are eager to pay the least amount of money for a given result.

SO… make your “given result” as unlike that of your competitors as possible.

You think that’s too much work? Hire a professional copy writer.

Get a Free Consultation and we can discuss other ways to connect, engage, and get results using powerful and targeted content!

A Caregiver’s Guide to Seniors and Technology

Thursday, 3 April, 2014

A Caregiver’s Guide to Seniors and Technology

Over the past few years, the technology industry has grown exponentially, and for many people using technological devices has become second nature. While technology is often geared toward the younger generation, we do not often think about how seniors can benefit from it. Today, we are starting to see a switch. More products are being designed specifically for older baby boomers as companies realize there’s a need that must be met.

If you are a caregiver, introducing technology into a senior’s life can be a great way to enhance the individual’s quality of life. Aging adults can truly have a more enjoyable life experience if they familiarize themselves with technology appropriate to their lifestyle, cognitive level, and physical abilities. Below are a few devices that may help.

Finding the Appropriate Device

1) For Staying Healthy

While some seniors are still able to enjoy an active and healthy life, many others have to cope with certain physical limitations. Whether it is walking with walkers, having to deal with arthritic hands or poor vision, seniors have to adjust and adapt to the changes. If the goal is to try to remain as active as possible, certain tech devices such as the Xbox Kinect may be a great way to introduce light physical activity, without the stress of high-energy exercise.

2) For Staying Connected

Many seniors feel that learning to live with an increased level of isolation is one of the biggest challenges to overcome. With many friends and sometimes a spouse who’s passed away, seniors can easily feel lonely and are looking for ways to connect with busy family members or friends that live far away. As a solution, caregivers can look into computer programs, such as Skype, which would allow seniors to connect with their loved ones through video.

Many video sharing programs do not require the purchase of an expensive computer. There is a wide range of tablets available that offer email and video chat capabilities. Aside from these programs, many wireless companies are starting to introduce products, such as smartphones, with bigger buttons, simpler interfaces and adapted touchscreens.

3) For Safety

Physical issues aside, many seniors may experience memory loss and cognitive issues that can be signs of dementia. For caregivers, it can seem intimidating to try and find the proper technological tools to bring joy to their loved one.

In situations like these, assistive technologies are valuable options. At-home medical alert devices for seniors, like Fall Alert, offer many ways to help the user feel more secure in their environment, as there is a comfort in knowing that help will be immediately available, regardless of whether or not you can reach the phone. As many often wish to remain at home for as long as possible, the introduction of assistive technology can help seniors live independently for a longer period of time. Family members typically also appreciate the additional safety measures and the peace of mind afforded by such advancements.

Implementing the Technology

Technology implementation requires some research, preparation, and gentle acclimatization in order for it to be a positive experience for everyone involved. So once you have determined what tools will enhance your loved one’s lifestyle, a gentle introduction of the technology will ensure a smooth transition and a better success rate. Here are a few tips to follow:

1) Identify Your Loved One’s Level of Functionality

New technology is often overwhelming for people of any age: too many buttons, too many functions, too many sounds. For seniors, whichever tool is introduced should be simplified and stripped of any extraneous functions.

For caregivers, the first task entails identifying your loved one’s function level in order to find the appropriate tools. For example, if a senior has moderate dementia, setting up an email account where a password needs to be entered for access would not be ideal or enjoyable. The technology needs to be a reflection of the person’s physical and mental abilities.

2) Determine and Set Goals

Many seniors are hesitant to dive into modern technology, but many others will welcome it if they have access to the proper tools. Whether the goal is to discover fun ways to exercise or to feel safer at home, caregivers have to ensure that the selected tools meet the goals.

3) Keep Up with Their Progress

Lastly, caregivers should always monitor how their loved ones are doing on a regular basis. In today’s busy life, we can easily forget to pop in for a visit when it seems convenient just to speak on the phone or through video chat. It is important to remember that no technological or assistive device will replace face-to-face time.

You think that’s too much work? Wondering if I can help you differentiate from the competition?

Get a Free Consultation and we can discuss other ways to connect, engage, and get results using powerful and targeted content!

How to be an Authority on Senior Care

Wednesday, 8 January, 2014

Be an Authority on Senior Care, they inspired me

Be an authority and get noticed by Google.  If Google trusts that you’re an authority on a topic, then they’ll direct online users to you–for help. But first you got to build trust with the big guy.

Do you know what it means to be an authority?

Think of authority figures in your life. That could be a coach, a minister, a lawyer, a teacher, a parent, a police officer and if you think about it, each has the power to influence you through actions and words.

An authority holds power and trust in the eyes of an audience.

The audience, people looking for solutions to a problem, depend on the person in authority to give solutions, direction and help.

The audience, in this case, are seniors and family caregivers. I want to engage, connect and influence them through online content.

The kind of content that shows them exactly how to solve problems, answer questions and gives clear direction on what to do next. You can read more on what authority means here.

That’s my goal here online at Carebuzz and soon… Carol Marak dot com. To be a senior care content marketing authority for senior care businesses (like you, perhaps).

So, how does one become “a senior care authority?” Well, in a nutshell:

Create an editorial calendar of needed topics and subject matter for seniors and families. Then write the articles, blog posts, email newsletters, press releases and other content that answers the audience’s questions around tough concerns. And I don’t mean fluff content that you’ll see online (most of the time).

But the kind that digs deep into dark corners where dust gathers and sits there for a long time ’cause we don’t know what to do with it.

So, how do I know what those are? I don’t (well, I have a good idea.) But, I’ll find the experts and topic authorities who do. We’ll have an interview or they’ll write a post giving the audience answers they’re looking for (in the pesky dark corners.)

That can include senior housing: costs of assisted living, how to pay for it, when to know its time to move, differences of assisted living, nursing homes and aging in place at home. That’s a very small and benign preview.

The content then wraps around a great resource for adults looking for care and a place to live independently and safely.

That’s what will be delivered.

The best part–I’m working with an online assisted living brand and together, we’re going to be the AUTHORITY on senior care and assisted living. Period. (More on them soon.)

We’ll build a huge following.

The fun part (for you) is I’m gonna show you exactly how we reached AUTHORITY status! Lucky you. Lucky me, if you join us on the journey. Ah, come on. I promise we’ll learn a lot together.

I know you haven’t heard from me in a while. That’s because I’ve been milling around behind the scenes. But I’m back!

I won’t bore you with where that was and what I’ve learned, at least not right now. But maybe in the future.

At this moment, I want you to know that I’m here.

Maybe, through this journey to become a senior care authority and advocate–you’ll get glimpses into how you too can do just that.

So, my burning desire to be a senior care advocate is flaming. If you follow me, I promise not to burn you.

This post kicks off my series – my journey to the senior care advocate world through building authority. Hope you join me. Hope you learn. I know I will – just did.

Thank you.

Embrace Your Differences like West, Texas does

Friday, 26 April, 2013

It’s been over forty years since I left my home town West, TX. I visit frequently because my family still lives there. My parents are gone but they spent over fifty-four years in their one and only home in West. My sister and her husband remain, along with many, many cousins and aunts and uncles. My friends laugh out loud when I tell them I have 112 first cousins.. no, that’s not a typo. Yes, my family is Catholic and Czech. My Mom had 13 siblings and Dad – 15 siblings. There’s a perfectly good reason for having all those mouths to feed… they are farmers and they need field hands.

Most of you know the recent tragedy in West, TX. I visited the town the other day (April 23, 2013) – very sad day. My sister and I walked streets that looked like a war zone. Police officers patrolling everywhere… for safe keeping. It’s a good thing because what makes West so special are the people, traditions, ethics, and down to earth principles. And it would be a real shame if anything ever happened to that!

West is a small town like no other and that’s why it receives volumes of visitors every day. It’s not a beautiful town but it holds special treasures for many. And the town has found it’s sweet spot that visitors flock to so often.

When thinking of my home town, I am reminded how “being different” is their trademark (and the people there enjoy flaunting those differences) – that’s why out-of-towners love it so much. The people from West are not haughty or proud – instead, they hold strong to who they are – humble and earthy – with big hearts. People who’d give you the shirt off their back. As a matter of fact, I experienced it the other day – several people stopped (while walking the devastated streets) and asked if there was anything I needed?

Embrace tradition (who you are) – no one not even the explosion will demolish the strong traditions of West. They are Czech and they are simple people and  proud of it too. No one is a stranger to them. Seriously, it’s been part of my life for many years. My family embraces everyone. They welcome you into their homes – dinner table – to a beer – you name it – they share. Family is top priority in their book. It used to drive me crazy because when growing up my mom and dad did not have friends.. they had family. They care for one another deeply.

Why visitors love West, Texas (How West is different than most towns):

1. It’s hard to be duplicated – West is very unique. The majority of the population is Czech and German. So, you know what that means…. beer (everywhere) and frequently offered – one matter what time of day (well not before noon usually – well, usually), kolaches (don’t know what those are click here), Czech and German spoken – more English these days, Polkas and waltzes are played at community functions, predominant dance in West is the polka, and the warmest, friendliest people in Texas.

2. You’re accepted just the way you are – amplifies the trust factor.

3. People get exactly what they expect when visiting West (great times, spirited music and of course good sausage, kolaches and beer – gives accurate results.

4. West makes the ordinary extraordinary – the above  factors puts it above most small towns (all the fun things listed) – which encompass  the things visitors care about, cherish, and want when visiting a small town.

5. Visitors come to West to get out of the big city or boring small towns – West meets the needs of those yearning to connect with the simple life and a lost sense of community.

6. West gets publicity – mostly WOM (word of mouth) – people all over Texas KNOW and talk about West.

7. West NEVER loses focus. They know who they are and what they do best.

My home town. Many blessings to those who make West what it is today!

Wondering if I can help you differentiate from the competition?

Get a Free Consultation and we can discuss other ways to connect, engage, and get results using powerful and targeted content!

Content Marketing Map

Thursday, 11 April, 2013