‘Aged Care Crisis’ – did you know Channel Nine’s TODAY program is running an aged care investigation this week?

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Every day this week, the news and current affairs program is airing a new piece on our ‘aged care crisis’ – already they’ve covered surveillance cameras and aged care staffing ratios.

Check out the stories HERE and HERE .

Now the TODAY Show is no Four Corners or 7.30 Report – but it does pull in around 250,000 viewers across the five main metro cities a day.

Little wonder the sector has a serious ‘perception’ problem.

Last week I went along to LASA’s national aged care briefing series in Sydney led by CEO Sean Rooney. He says they are doing their best to provide “evidence and balance” to the mainstream media.

But as we know, the headlines above are much more likely to attract an audience.

So how can we market to a public that isn’t interested in our ‘good news stories’?

  • Start by drawing up a strategy for dealing with media – have a clear course of action should you receive a call from a media outlet. You can’t prepare for every scenario, but at least have a rough idea of how you will respond.
  • Host media and community tours of your homes and villages – transparency is key to earning the trust of the media and the public. Be prepared to take journalists to see facilities and meet residents, staff and managers.
  • Engage with the local press – stories are not always broken by the big media giants. The recent aged care headlines in Queensland were first reported by a Bundaberg newspaper. It’s worth getting to know the journalists so they can come to you directly (see Allison’s story below on PR before you do).
  • Run events and open days – and promote them. An obvious one, but we tend to forget most people don’t know the difference between aged care and retirement villages – you have to demystify it for them.

Most importantly, don’t let problems with residents fester – why?

Feedback from our villages.com.au National Resident Survey tells us that the longer a resident has a complaint that goes unresolved, the unhappier they will be – and the more likely they will be to put their hand up when ‘A Current Affair’ or another news program comes knocking.

Don’t give your residents and families the need to pick up the phone.