Much as college-bound teens tour campuses, growing numbers of consumer-wise seniors now visit retirement communities to test both lifestyle and living accommodations.
“Offering overnight stays began being used in the early 1960s,” said William E. Becker, a national marketing consultant for real estate development of active adult communities. “They were first known as ‘fly and buy’ programs, heavily used in Arizona and Florida to attract retirees. Most recently, active adult and resort communities find them an excellent incentive to experience both a lifestyle and a future home.”
It’s also why upscale East Ridge at Cutler Bay hosts growing numbers of retirees as the only South Florida life care community with a new “Mini-Retirement Sampler.”
The complimentary program encourages singles or couples to spend three days and two nights during a convenient weekend to enjoy community amenities and experience distinctive East Ridge living accommodations.
“The most important ingredient is having visitors meet and talk to residents while getting a firsthand sense of community life here,” explained Rick Drew, marketing director. “Residents understand the anxieties experienced in determining what community is the best fit for a newcomer to senior community life. They’ve become our best ambassadors, encouraging first-time visitors to sample a weekend of living at East Ridge.”
Drew added that “we feel our timing is perfect for today’s economic times. That’s why we also include educational programs, providing advice on selling a home, downsizing and making the move here.”
While some communities charge a nominal fee, Drew said it was important to make East Ridge visits complimentary so that people do not feel obligated to become a resident.
“There are no strings attached. We want visitors to experience what it’s like to live in an East Ridge residence, participate in activities and sample our full dining menu, always wellregarded here,” he said.
Visitors are even provided with a golf cart, the community’s most popular form of transportation, to roam freely around the 76 acres of tropical grounds and amenities that create East Ridge’s unique lifestyle.
The community’s wellness and fitness center, heated swimming pool and putting green are available for use as well as the simplicity of a relaxing view of the community’s exotic foliage and roaming peacocks from a back porch home.
“They’re an effective marketing tool to bring a community to life, differentiating one from another,” Becker added. “If a prospect enjoys their experience, it helps enormously in during the highly sensitive decision-making time.”
Becker also said the program greatly assists adult children of retirees who can say to otherwise- reluctant parents: “Just try it out and see if you like it. Remember, too, we’re close by and visiting you is easy.”
“For many South Florida families, weekend visits at East Ridge are proving the perfect ‘try me’ opportunity,” he said.
Celebrating over 50 years serving Miami- Dade County, East Ridge at Cutler Bay is the area’s only life care community incorporating eight components of wellness: social, vocational, intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional, and environmental and health services in every facet of its lifestyle. The community draws from the rich neighborhood charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush tropical environment of 76 acres.
East Ridge, located at 19301 SW 87 Ave., offers a continuum of care, including independent and assisting living, respite care and skilled nursing care and rehab.
For more information about the community or the “Mini- Retirement Sampler,” call 305-256-3564 or visit www.EastRidgeAtCutlerBay.com