The Importance of Customer Experience in the Senior Living Industry

Hospitality & Travel

February 14, 2024 / 5 min read


Customer Experience

The Importance of Customer Experience in the Senior Living Industry

When discussing the well-being of the elderly, it is essential to consider the importance of customer experience in the field of senior living residences. These establishments, which provide a living environment for seniors, play a crucial role in their quality of life, comfort, and safety. Customer experience, which encompasses all interactions and services provided by these residences at every phase of the resident’s “life cycle” (prospecting, moving in, integration, residence life), is not only about meeting residents’ basic needs but also contributes to their fulfillment and happiness. In this article, we will explore why customer experience is so important in the context of senior living residences based on a recent study conducted on behalf of RQRA.

Quality of Life Linked to Overall Satisfaction

Customer experience in senior living residences goes beyond the quality of medical care and basic services. It encompasses the entire living environment, including the quality of accommodation, the variety of activities offered, access to support services, and the friendliness of the staff. Residents of a senior living residence seek not only a place where they can live safely but also a place where they feel valued, respected, and integrated into a community.

One reason why customer experience is so important in senior living residences is that residents’ quality of life is closely linked to their overall satisfaction. Studies have shown that older adults living in high-quality care environments tend to live longer, be healthier, and maintain better morale. Therefore, it is imperative for senior living residences to provide a top-notch customer experience to ensure the well-being of their residents. In three words, their experience must be secure, easy, and enjoyable.

Another crucial aspect of customer experience in senior living residences is promoting residents’ autonomy and dignity. Older adults want to maintain a certain level of independence and control over their own lives, even if they need assistance. A senior living residence that recognizes this need and encourages residents’ autonomy greatly contributes to their quality of life. This means providing opportunities for social and recreational activities, facilitating access to friendly communal spaces, and allowing residents to make decisions about their own schedules.

Communication and interaction with residence staff also play an essential role in customer experience. Residents should feel listened to, understood, and respected. Well-trained and caring staff can significantly contribute to improving the customer experience. This means not only addressing residents’ medical and physiological needs but also engaging in meaningful conversations, being attentive to their concerns, and being empathetic towards their emotions.

Furthermore, the importance of customer experience in senior living residences is also evident in the role of residents’ families. Family members want to be assured that their loved ones are in good hands and receiving quality care. A positive customer experience reassures families, strengthens their confidence in the establishment, and promotes better collaboration between the residence and residents’ relatives.

Improving Customer Experience

Now that we have established the importance of customer experience in senior living residences, how can we improve this experience? The results of a study conducted by Lanla on behalf of RQRA and presented at its most recent annual congress have identified some key points to consider.

During the prospecting phase, it is important to properly care for the visitor. They should feel welcomed by the staff on the day of the visit, visit as many apartments and common areas as possible (following a good needs analysis), meet staff members and residents, and receive a welcome package containing maximum documentation.

Staff Training
It is essential to train staff to be competent and sensitive to the specific needs and expectations of older adults regarding customer experience. This includes training in medical care, communication, behavior management, and understanding health issues related to aging.

Promoting Social Inclusion
Senior living residences should offer a variety of social and recreational activities to encourage socialization and interaction among residents. Clubs, discussion groups, and community events are opportunities for residents to bond. A more proactive approach than reactive one should be adopted.

Personalizing Care
Each resident is unique, with their own needs, preferences, and routines. It is essential to adopt a personalized approach to care and support, taking into account each individual’s desires and wishes.

Soliciting Resident Feedback
Residents should be encouraged to express their opinions and provide feedback on the quality of services. Feedback is valuable for the continuous improvement of the residence.

Implementing Quality Management Mechanisms
Senior living residences should implement quality management systems to regularly evaluate and improve their services. This may include satisfaction surveys, internal audits, and external evaluations. It is well known that you cannot improve what you do not measure!

In Conclusion

Customer experience in the field of senior living residences is crucial for residents’ quality of life, at every stage of their “customer journey.” It is not limited to providing basic medical care but encompasses the entire living environment, including promoting autonomy, communication with staff, and satisfying families. By improving the customer experience through staff training, promoting social inclusion, personalizing care, soliciting resident feedback, and implementing quality management mechanisms, senior living residences can offer an exceptional environment where older adults can live with dignity, safety, and satisfaction.

« A good customer experience strategy is essential to attracting customers to seniors’ residences, and it’s not just about providing basic medical care. »

– Christian Watier

Christian Watier holds a doctorate from Université Laval, a postdoctorate from Carleton University in experimental psychology, and is the author of several scientific publications.


On January 24, 2024, as part of a webinar organized by RQRA, Christian Watier, our Chief Scientific Officer, was a speaker on customer experience in retirement residences.

To read the full RQRA magazine in which this article appeared, click here!

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