31 Jan
Our Residents Are Resistant to Change: What Are Common Objections?
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With the growth of the senior market and occupancy returning to pre-pandemic levels, providers are seeking opportunities to expand and reposition to meet the needs of new residents. The process of adjusting to remain market-relevant requires providers to engage stakeholders to create buy-in. One of the most important stakeholder groups is the current resident population. These residents seem increasingly resistant to change and are more vocal, offering objections to major expansion and redevelopment strategies. Here are some common objections we hear and some responses that we see providers offering to their residents.  

Objection: “We like it just the way it is.”

Residents make the important decision to sell their home and move into a community that supports their well-being. These residents have settled into their new home and have a comfortable routine – why change anything? Increasingly, we hear that adding new living units and more people is viewed as an unwanted disruption. What’s more, some residents feel the common areas and amenities are just fine the way they are.  

Creating clear channels of communication with residents is critical to any expansion or repositioning plans. Key messages describing the what, where and when help set the stage for stakeholder understanding and buy-in, but it is most important to share the why and address what’s in it for the resident. Many expansions and repositioning projects create new amenities, programs and services that benefit existing residents as well as future residents. Additional living units can create an incremental financial scale to absorb inflating costs typically borne by the existing resident. Expansion units also grow cash reserves to create future financial stability of the organization, ultimately supporting existing residents as well.  

Another key strategy in driving quality stakeholder engagement is identifying existing residents that embrace this reasoning. Incorporate their voice and support to help drive acceptance of growth strategies.  

Objection: “Not in my backyard.”  

Expanding and redeveloping a campus almost always results in construction. A common objection we hear is that residents don’t want their backyard to become a construction zone to accomplish that growth.

Again, promises to over communicate can’t be overstated. Providers typically respond with:

  • Holding monthly meetings with the contractor for residents to understand progress and share challenges;
  • Increasing cleaning protocols;
  • Increasing resident programming and events in other parts of the campus to enhance resident goodwill;
  • Offering incentives and discounts, only when absolutely necessary; and
  • Cultivating a culture of excitement around construction progress and the achievement of milestones.

Offering these benefits to offset some of the initial frustrations can be successful in gaining resident acceptance and support.

Objection: "Don’t raise my monthly fee to pay for it.”

The cost of expanding and redeveloping is increasingly expensive. The most frequently asked question by existing residents is, “Are you going to raise my monthly fee to pay for this project?”. Providers seeking to grow through this method must answer “NO” to this question to garner the ongoing resident support.  To answer “NO” to that question, providers must create a market driven, financially viable expansion and repositioning plan. Within that plan, the expansion must support itself financially and generate excess financial resources to benefit the organization and its existing residents.  

Providers are seeing residents become increasingly vocal about their objections to these plans; that is unlikely to change. In response, it is the providers’ responsibility to understand and address these objections for the benefit of the organization as a whole.

These are just a few of the most common objections we’re hearing from providers and clients – there are and will be many more as providers continue to grow in their markets. If you are interested in learning more about Greystone’s experience or discussing additional strategies to address objections, please contact us here.

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