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Healthcare real estate: new specialism

The aging population and the housing shortage unfortunately come at the same time and that is not really convenient for anyone (understatement). Fortunately, we notice that there are more and more housing projects that focus specifically on an older target group or people with care needs. How do you approach such a project in the field of marketing and communication? We tell you here what we pay attention to.

#1 Just people

The housing shortage is irritating to most people, to say the least, but we certainly cannot leave our elderly and other people in need of care out in the cold. The arrival of these healthcare real estate projects is therefore a welcome solution that we fully embrace. But despite the fact that we are talking about a specific target group, you don't suddenly have to approach such a project differently than others. After all, we are still talking about people.

Yes, they are slightly older and would like to know whether their apartment can also be reached with a mobility scooter, for example. Or that home care and other care can easily be arranged. But the advantages of a location or good accessibility by public transport – the unique selling points of a project – are also important. So don't lose yourself too much in the 'it's a completely different target group' feeling. What appeals to you about the project and what makes it a nice place to live? If you can answer it for yourself, you can continue that line in communication. Fortunately, you do not focus on aliens, but on ordinary people. With a need for care, yes.

#2 You or you?

When addressing the elderly, it is polite to use 'you'. Well? Opinions are increasingly divided on this. It is of course polite, but it also creates distance. And that is precisely why people do not feel addressed. Imagine that people only talk to you in a distant way or assume that you no longer understand a lot. That is what many elderly people have to deal with and that can be improved.

A slow shift is taking place in which many Dutch people no longer know exactly how things should be done. There are elderly people who don't even like it when you address them with 'you'. That also fits in with the non-hierarchical culture of the Dutch. Companies take this culture into account, writes journalist Iris Hannema in Trouw. For example, Apple uses 'you' on their Dutch website, but in French the variant on 'u': 'vous'. That is much more common there.¹ Of course there are still people who attach importance to the use of 'you', but as the young, 'amical' generations of today get older, will 'u' disappear? In any case, the use of 'you' is a lot more normal these days than in the past, so it could just be.

Practical advice: try to estimate where your target group is. Very hip project in the Randstad? Then you can use 'you'. This can be done in a respectful manner and is immediately accessible. If your feeling says that 'you' are better after all, then that is also allowed. Please note that it can quickly come across as distant and keep an eye on whether it changes in the future. Finally: is the project also for young people (with care needs)? Then we would always go for 'you'.

#3 Accessible website

With healthcare real estate, you would not dare to make the third floor accessible only by stairs (and then without a stair lift). But that sometimes still happens online. Websites with small letters, complicated forms, trendy navigation, or a telephone number that is hidden far away and that you cannot click on. These are things that can drive you crazy if you're tech savvy, and while we don't want to stigmatize, many older people usually aren't. It is therefore extra important to pay attention to the above points, but we can of course also do that for you.

Finally: the role of the landlord is very important. Actually with every project, but especially if someone cannot find it on the website, it is nice if they can call and receive help in every step of the rental process. Flexible walk-in on location (when possible) can also be a good addition. This way you make it just a little more accessible and that is nice for everyone.


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