RAL Networking: Senior Living Advisors

RAL Networking: Senior Living Advisors

There are many networking connections that can help your RAL business succeed. One critical networking element is to find senior living advisors. Professionals in your area whose job it is to connect seniors and their families with the right assisted living homes. Are you making the right connections?

Networking plays a major role in owning and operating a successful residential assisted living business, especially amongst senior living advisors. There are professionals with the sole responsibility of guiding individuals and their families through the process of finding the best senior housing option. This position is called a senior living advisor, also referred to as a senior care consultant, senior living care professional, or elder care advisor. They help people find residential assisted living homes that meet their needs, satisfy their desires, and accommodate their budget. 

These professionals work for an advisory company which has established ties and a network of communities in the area that they know inside and out. In addition, they possess a firm familiarity with the world of senior living and elder care. Since senior living advisors are paid by the senior communities when someone moves in, they work at no cost to the individual and their family. This is not a novel idea.  It is one that has been in existence for quite some time. The idea of getting the assistance from a relocation advisor is common. However, so many are unfamiliar with its existence. What do senior living advisors do? What is the extent of their services? How much do they cost? How can they help you with your residential assisted living home?

The Role of a Senior Living Advisor

Personalization, choices, and follow through are major components in the job description of a senior living advisor. Personalization plays a huge role in order to offer seniors and their loved ones a customized experience. They understand the nature of the move and are empathetic throughout the process. They quickly take into account the entirety of the situation, which prompts their need to assist. A good senior living advisor will understand the following:

  • Why have they been called upon?
  • What prompted this family to seek their services?
  • What are the emotional and physical needs of the senior to be relocated?
  • On what terms will this senior move of his/her own volition?
  • What is the budget? Payment options? Insurance coverage?
  • What is the proximity needed to certain services?
  • What are the family dynamics?
  • How sensitive of a move will this be for the senior and his/her family?

Many seniors who seek the assistance of a senior living advisor will more than likely be perfect candidates for a residential assisted living home. These advisors are looking for the “right fit” for their client and will not rest until that fit is found. Is that fit your RAL home? Do senior living advisors bring prospective residents to visit your home? Once the necessary information is acquired from a prospective resident, a senior living advisor will conduct a comprehensive search. It may or may not be an exhaustive one based upon the type of senior housing offered in the area.  

Once a list is made, the advisor will discuss and explore the choices in depth. To ensure certainty when helping seniors, advisor will do the following to help clients make the right choice:

  • Arrange phone interviews
  • Arrange site visits and tour 
  • Facilitate needful conversations between the family/resident and the facility.

Has your RAL been contacted as a potential choice for a senior living advisor’s client? If so, what about your home drew the attention of the senior living advisor? Take note of these attributes because senior advisors will provide follow through. A senior living advisor’s job isn’t done until the individual has received all the information needed to feel informed and empowered about their options. The advisor will stand by them, patiently wait, and assist in the decision-making process.  Does your residential assisted living intake specialist have a relationship with a senior living advisor? How will you be aware of where your RAL home stands with a potential resident?

3 Things Seniors Living Advisors Generally Do Not Do

1. They Do Not Rush

Quality senior living advisors do not rush through the process; personalized service means they go at their client’s pace. This is a sensitive decision and a good advisor will have no problem waiting. If an individual is a long way out from a move and is just starting to gather information, the advisor can help at this stage. If there’s an urgent situation needing care as soon as possible, the advisor will match that urgency with the most expedited service they can provide to meet that need. However, there are times when a family may be in a rush. The need may prevail, and the senior may need assistance quickly. In these instances, a senior living advisor is optimal. If your RAL home has an immediate vacancy and the appropriate level of service, it may become top priority for a senior living advisor. Be sure senior living advisors are kept aware of the occupancy status of your home.

2. They Do Not Sale

After an advisor knows the situation, what do senior living advisors do?  What is the extent of their services? How much do they cost? How can they help you with your residential assisted living home? History and specific needs of an individual they’re working with is most important. While they may specifically recommend various communities, they will not be a “salesperson” promoting a specific community. These people are empathetic to their customer’s needs. They are not pushy, unreliable sales professionals. They are consultants who care. Once the decision has been made, the selling happens at the facility. Your RAL sales professional will handle whether a room is needed with or without a roommate.  What type of bathroom or closet is needed? What view would be best? These are all the responsibilities of your RAL sales professional, not the senior living advisor. However, the advisor will walk with the client throughout the process offering support and assistance.  

3. They Do Not Get Paid by the Client

A senior living advisor does not get paid by the individual and their family; they’re paid based on senior housing referrals. Remember that, since not all senior communities choose to participate in the network of any or all senior advisor companies, the advisor may not be familiar with your RAL home. Depending on your community, this may need to change.  Be sure you do some basic research to at least know what options exist, even if not brought up by the advisor. If your RAL home is in a community where advisors are sought often, getting involved with a network will only benefit that home.  As an owner of an RAL home, you should:

  • Know the most reliable advisors
  • Know what these advisors charge
  • Know if you need a contract with their company, or if you can work individually with the advisor?

Get Fast Help in Crunch-Time Situations

As mentioned earlier, families may solicit the services of a senior living advisor when immediate help is needed. For example, if a senior is discharging from a hospital or skilled nursing facility but can’t safely return to their home, assisted living is an immediate option. In this case, they may need to find a suitable assisted living community as soon as possible. In other instances, a senior may require 24-hour, on-going care, but hiring around-the-clock in-home help might be financially impossible. The best solution would be to move to a residential assisted living home with the appropriate level of care. In situations like these, it helps to work with specialists who are already familiar with all the local options. These professionals know how to navigate the system and have connections in the senior care industry. They can help make things happen fast. Make sure your residential assisted living home remains an option – this will help you keep beds filled. 

Know The Biases of Various Senior Living Advisors

For the senior and their family, before deciding to work with a specific senior living advisor, it’s important to ask if they only recommend certain care communities. For example, some senior living advisors are biased toward senior housing facilities that they work with regularly. Find out if they’re willing to search for and recommend any good care communities that would meet your older adult’s needs – not just those with the highest commissions. This becomes vital for the owner of a RAL home. 

What if your home is unable to pay the high commissions of a big box facility? You want to find senior advisors who will do what is absolutely best for the senior, not their pocket.

The best senior living advisors have dealt with relocating a senior, personally. They understand the pain, the necessity, and the adjustment period. It is best to know if the advisor has personal familiarity with relocating a senior. While it is not necessary for success, it may be vital for empathy.

Learning How To Network With Residential Assisted Living

The Residential Assisted Living National Association is here to provide information, resources and support for seniors, their families, and RAL owners. 

RALNA advocates for residential assisted living business owners and operators with guidance for legal expertise, continued education, national marketing, group purchasing power and a continual positive voice for the industry.

For ongoing support and to learn about new innovative practices start by clicking here.

Experience the Impact of the National Association

RAL Success Starter Packet

A collection of resources to help the residential assisted living professional maximize profitability and elevate care. Get this free packet which includes instruction related to Dealing with HOAs, Memory Care, Senior Health and Wellness, RAL Marketing, Home Tours, and Dementia.

What You Do for Seniors Matters

This packet is filled with practical and actionable steps to help you do good and do well. Where should we send your copy?