Just witnessed what VNAA Executive Director Tracey Moorhead called “a morning of shock and awe” as the opening session of the VNAA Annual conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. However, the pre-conference session on population health management was a great primer for the information presented today.
Most of this information is not new to me, as I have been keeping abreast of the changes in the home care industry as well as in the larger health care delivery system for about 34 years now. And, with a healthy start in my career in the technology sector, I am not uncomfortable with technology, nor do I underestimate the power it has to change systems.
However, what was new this morning here at the VNAA meeting was the extent and the scope of the changes that are already in place. An overview of the latest research on consumer comfort with technology as a means of communicating to their clinician, and the clinician’s comfort with using technology was an eye opener. Ceci Connolly, Managing Director PriceWaterhouseCoopers presented some statistics that they are discovering through research. I am certain you have heard me rant about the obsolete and antiquated and archaic mindset of many of our nation’s physicians, but to see that patients, regardless of age, are really more comfortable than our physicians in communicating with easy devices that make everyone’s lives easier, was amazing.
And, to learn that hospitals are the #3 cause of death in America was also a shocker. In the home health care arena, preventing readmissions is the latest directive, but, according to the opening speakers, most notably Dr. Matt Blatt the Worldwide Medical Director at Intel, preventing admissions is even a more noble cause.
You see, the percentage of Medicare dollars that go to home care is around 4% of total spend, so to quote Jim Pyles, the champion of the Independence at Home Model of care, and principal Pyles, Powers, Sutter & Verville PSC, that is barely enough money to constitute a rounding error. So, why not look for cutting costs where most of the money is spent and that is hospitals. After all, have you ever met anyone who wanted to GO to a hospital?
Nancy Gagliano, Medical Director for CVS’s MinuteClinic, came out of Mass General to change care to allow patients to access care when they needed it and at a location close to home or wherever they were. Most of their patients are seen nights and weekends, and 85% of them do not have primary care physicians, so they are getting health care that they otherwise would not have gotten. And, the clinics are referring INTO the system, so the PCPs are getting patients they would not have gotten. Now that is a step in the right direction for population health improvement. MinuteClinics are opening up their 1000th clinic this summer, and certainly more will follow. Technology is playing an important role here, as well, with minimally invasive and inexpensive devices that can check status, say of a child’s ear infection, and transmit that to the clinic so a prescription can be written and delivered without the child having to leave the home.
The bottom line is that the healthcare delivery system is changing. Jim Pyles said that in his 43 years in health care law he has never seen such change. How providers are being paid is changing. How care is measured is changing. Incentives to share risk and find a way to reduce costs are working. Strange bedfellows are now collaborating and looking for ways to achieve that triple aim: lower costs, better care and better population health.
The opportunities that abound for home care are amazing. Because home care is the least expensive alternative (in most cases), and because better care can be offered at home in the least restrictive setting, and most comfortable for the patient, there are almost unlimited opportunities for those who are not afraid to change, to take some risk and to think in a futuristic manner.
Thanks to my friends at Axxess for sponsoring my continued foray into the future. Come see Sam Smith, VP of Business Development and me present on the future of home health at the Pennsylvania Homecare Association on May 13th and the Home Care Association of Florida July 30th.
Slowly but surely, women continue to shatter glass ceilings everywhere. Just last week, the National Football League named Sarah Thomas its first-ever full-time female referee. I can’t wait for football season to start again to see her in action.
When it come so the game of life, though, specifically the role of caregiving, men are usually the ones on the sidelines. Women account for an estimated 66 percent of caregivers in the United States, according to the 2009 report from the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Public Policy Institute. Results of the 2014 report will be released later this year, and I had the opportunity to hear about it at the recent annual meeting of the American Society of Aging, which I also presented at in March (with a male colleague, BTW, Sam Smith of AXXESS). You can read about the NAC/AARP presentation here.
With an average age of 48, many of these women are caught in the sandwich generation, caring for their own children as well as their elderly parents. Some other statistics on women and caregiving, from the Family Caregiver Alliance: Most of these women care for their elderly mother, who has an average age of 60, who does not live with her. They are married and employed. They provide an average of 20 hours per week of caregiving.
Women call the caregiving shots, but they don’t get many timeouts. To say that these female caregivers may need some assistance is an understatement.
If women caregivers give themselves a break, by cutting back on work hours—a MetLife study found 33 percent decreased their work hours; 29 percent passed up a promotion; 22 percent took a leave of absence–they risk being demoted, losing their jobs altogether, and seriously compromising their own financial security.
Another MetLife study, the Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers, found “For women, the total individual amount of lost wages due to leaving the labor force early because of caregiving responsibilities equals $142,693. The estimated impact of caregiving on lost Social Security benefits is $131,351. A very conservative estimated impact on pensions is approximately $50,000. Thus, in total, the cost impact of caregiving on the individual female caregiver in terms of lost wages and Social Security benefits equals $324,044.”
And then there’s the health costs associated with caregiving: Women caregivers are twice as likely to say they feel constant daily stress in their lives compared to male caregivers or non-caregivers. One study found that women who provided care to a spouse were six times as likely to suffer from depression or anxiety as non-caregivers, and twice as likely to suffer depression or anxiety when caring for an elderly parent. Twenty-five percent of female caregivers have health problems because of their caregiving duties, according to a 2003 study by the Older Women’s League. Health issues associated with caregiving include elevated blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and an increased risk of early mortality.
To better serve our clients, home care agencies need to understand these demands, constraints, and repercussions for women as caregivers. At corecubed, we can help you reach out to female caregivers short on time through a comprehensive digital marketing strategy and execution.
I’m fortunate that at corecubed, my workload is lightened by an amazing staff of nine women, all top creative aging care marketing experts. Won’t you let us help lighten your marketing workload? Contact us today to see how we can assist you in reaching caregiving clients. We’re in the trenches. Together.
Mention Woodstock, the Beatles, and free love to Boomers, and you might just put a smile on some faces. I know I have fond memories of the 70’s. But call me a senior citizen and you might as well incite a campus protest instead.
Marketers are finding that many Boomers protest the idea that they are now part of the senior ranks, despite what it says on our driver’s license. Ditto for the elderly moniker. That’s reserved for the weak and frail. And, despite the fact we’ve been receiving AARP’s membership notice in the mail since we were 55, many Boomers are not retired nor even want to be, so you can’t count on using the word “retired” to refer to us either.
After a 2010 headline and story in the Omaha World Herald read “Baby Boomers Cringe at ‘Senior’ Label,” the Immanuel Senior Living Communities in Omaha actually changed their name to Immanuel Communities. You may not need to go that far, but you do have to target Boomers in a different way, and brand your website and marketing materials so that Boomers searching for homecare find something that caters to them, not just those “seniors” they don’t consider themselves to be just yet. The targeted age, by the way, for adult children searching for home care for parents is 45-65. And, as we live longer, and stay healthier longer, that target will rise. A friend’s 73 year old wife died this past week, and, in the obituary it noted that she was survived by her mother. I wondered if she had searched for home care for her mother or if her mother had searched for home care for her.
For those of you in the homecare business, our clients can be the seniors themselves, referral sources, and/or adult children/caregivers. In the next decade, Boomers, however they view themselves, will increasingly make up the direct patient-client and the adult children/caregivers side.
Let’s look at the numbers: Boomers, those 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, have been turning 65 at a rate of 8,000-10,000 a day since 2011. By 2025, they will help swell the senior population to 72 million, a staggering number. And, actually, that number continues to swell, as each year we are adding 1/3 or so a year to life expectancy. And, as we get healthier as a population, we will live longer.
Age is simply not the factor used in determining the need for home care services. While most Americans won’t require these services until advanced age that brings frailty, usually around age 80 and beyond, it is frailty, not age, that is the primary factor in determining when someone needs home care services. Dementia, cancer, heart disease can and do all occur at younger ages. And chronic diseases, such as Diabetes, are taking their toll on younger and younger populations.
So what language should you use to market to your clients? First you need to know your targets, and that they are varied. If you are trying to reach the older boomer audience, how does that self-identification of Boomer, senior, or something else, affect how you reach out to them? How does not identifying with the senior ranks, in the case of Boomers who fall in this category, affect how you design and position your website and other social media outreach?
The New Old Age blog in the New York Times had a great piece on this very topic a few years ago. In “’Elderly’ No More, author Judith Graham discusses the tightrope marketers need to walk when it comes to relating to this new market. The experts she interviewed said to focus on lifestyle and aspirations and end results rather than assigning a name to this demographic.
That’s where corecubed comes in, and what we do best. Ever wonder why when you do an online search on a topic, say homecare, the same websites show up at the top? That’s the power of search engine optimization, or SEO. Our experts at corecubed can assist in designing your website to meet the needs and expectations of search engines so that your business rises to the top of search pages. We can help attract Boomers and seniors simultaneously.
So if a Boomer wants to find a great homecare agency that caters to them, we can offer SEO that’s natural. Organic SEO is not as simple as waving a magic wand and being done with it; rather, SEO is an effort that requires ongoing maintenance. So instead of protesting that your business isn’t right for them, they’re more likely to hear what you have to say. Peace out, man.
You may know George Takei as Hikaru Sulu, the helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the TV series Star Trek. But these days the 77-year-old actor is better known for his Internet memes that often go viral. Through his memes, also known as image macros, Takei has launched a second career as an online personality. And, whether or not you like or are offended by his message, the viral nature of his memes is indisputable. And, he has become sort of a spokesperson for his cause, and mostly because of the viral nature and popularity of his memes.
If you feel like you’re lost in deep space, let me backtrack a bit. Memes are those static images you see in a Facebook post, or on Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media channels, with writing on top of them, commenting on, poking fun at, or reinforcing the image.
You probably know Grumpy Cat? Well, that started out as a meme on Reddit. And while initial reports that the sourpuss earned $100 million in two years has been discounted, the famous feline definitely made her owner some serious cash through viral branding.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines meme as “an idea, behavior, style or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.”
When it comes to memes, and memorable marketing, any business can learn a lot from Takei and Grumpy Cat. At corecubed we know how to leverage online creativity to help build brand awareness for your homecare and aging services business.
Today, March 31 from 3p.m. to 4 p.m. EST, Marissa Snook, Managing Director of corecubed, and I will be presenting a webinar “Reputations Are Built By Memorable Communications” for the Homecare Association of America. If you’re not already an HCAOA member, I urge you to join now to gain access to all its valuable services, including the webinar at a reduced rate of $50. Non-members pay $150. Either way, you can still register for the webinar today. And, if you are not already a member, use this promo code to get $50 off your membership. “2015HCAOAcorecubed”
This corecubed presentation will cover: the qualities of “memorable for the right reasons” messaging; the importance of brand identity and personality in connecting and resonating with potential clients; understanding your target audience(s) and what messages speak best to each; why you have just seconds to capture attention; and the fundamental importance of education in home care marketing.
According to a recent article on the do’s and don’ts of memes and marketing in Business News Daily, marketing professionals like memes for four main reasons: they’re already viral; they’re easy to make; they’re incredibly shareable; and they make campaigns more relatable. However, the article’s author cautions that using memes inappropriately can backfire.
I agree. I’ve seen some memes go viral, in a bad way.
Great memes or image macros are like the line in the old Faberge Organics shampoo commercial of the 1980s, “It was so good, I told two friends, then they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on.” When you use memes, or any other creative online marketing tools, you want people to have a positive experience with and memory of what they’ve seen and read, so that they’ll pass along your company’s name, and so on, and so on, and so on.
At corecubed, we provide the full range of marketing communications, including memes and other creative tools. We develop collateral content, such as marketing infographics and monthly newsletters, across marketing channels that gets your homecare business noticed. In a good way.
Boldly go where even cats have gone before, and you should too.
Tap into our creative juices today by contacting one of our award-winning marketing, design or PR professionals. You can also call corecubed at 800.370.6580 x1 or 844.corecubed and a member of our team will assist you. And be sure to check out, and pass along, some of our inspirational memes on Pinterest
Many homecare businesses don’t understand the importance of social media to their marketing efforts. Many don’t understand what social media really is at all??that it’s meant to be (well) social and not a constant sales pitch.
Putting yourself in charge of social media when you don’t know what you’re doing is like driving a Ferrari (stick shift) at the Indianapolis 500 when you are only used to taking public transit. Your efforts will crash and burn, and cost time and money in the process. Social media communication, like that iconic racing car, is best left up to the professionals.
The problem we at corecubed see when businesses try to handle social media themselves is that they confuse social media with self?promotion. They try to hammer home what they offer, but their attempts at social media never get the traction they hope for, and they don’t understand why. Social media matters. Doing it well matters even more.
Don’t just take my word that social media matters to your business. Ninety?two percent of marketers surveyed said social media is important for their business, and 97 percent said they use social media in their overall marketing strategy, according to a 2014 study by Adweek.
corecubed also knows what drives social media and its users. Strategic social media engages clients and referral sources. It brings customers to your website where they can learn more about what you do and what you offer. It can distinguish you in a cluttered field.
Not too long ago, seniors stayed away from the virtual world. No more. A 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center found 59 percent of seniors age 65 and older are now online. Overall, 86 percent of the adult population uses the Internet. The percentage of affluent and well?educated seniors who use the internet is even higher: Among those with an annual household income of $75,000 or more, 90 percent go online—that’s higher than the overall adult population!
Facebook seems to be the most popular social media channel among seniors, with 49 percent of seniors who go online using the site, according to a 2012 marketing report, Digital Seniors, by Forrester Research.
Unfortunately for both many businesses and their potential clients, the information superhighway can be awfully confusing and congested. That’s where social media comes in.
Social media channels, such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, provide an off ramp, if you will, for your audience to slow down, get some breathing space, and take in the scenery of what your homecare and aging services business can offer. It’s better than any billboard, because it doesn’t go by in a whir. Check out some examples of what corecubed has to offer in Facebook and YouTube.
Social media, if done well, stays with your audience. It gets them talking, or thinking, or sharing. It drives clients and referral sources to your website or business, rather than right by them.
Since I am here at the annual Aging in America conference, I am taking advantage of the American Society on Aging’s presentation focused on technology or social media. Driving Leads and Sales in the Longevity Marketplace focuses on “what innovative companies and entrepreneurs are doing to stand out, acquire customers and drive sales” using digital and social media.
If you didn’t have a chance to make this year’s conference, (and it has been a great one) think about attending one in the future. In the meantime, let corecubed help. Not only do we provide original written content to compliment social media, we extend its life. We repurpose original content in a variety of ways and take search engine optimization, SEO, into account. So, for example if a potential client Googles “homecare agency in X,Y,Z town,” your business has a better chance of being at the top of the results list. We use strategy. We use as many channels as possible. And it’s all focused on informing about issues that relate to homecare and aging care.
We handle all aspects of social media so you don’t have to get up to speed. Consider corecubed your autopilot button when it comes to managing social media for your business.