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Media Relations Strategies that Amplify Partnerships Between Senior Living and Higher Education

Media Relations Strategies that Amplify Partnerships Between Senior Living and Higher Education

by | Sep 5, 2023

Higher education institutions are looking for ways to connect more directly with the people who live near campuses.

A creative solution to gain interest from a new audience is partnering with nearby senior living communities. Senior living communities, in turn, benefit from these partnerships by gaining interns, volunteers, and new programming.

The intergenerational element of a higher education and senior living relationship offers intriguing possibilities from a public relations standpoint.

An Example in Sleepy Hollow, New York

For example, Kendal on Hudson, an AKCG client in Sleepy Hollow, New York, has benefitted deeply from university partnerships and internships on their campus.

Nursing students from Pace University learn from the clinical and gerontology experience of Sharon Wexler, Department Chairperson at Pace University’s College of Health Professionals and board member of Kendal on Hudson.

This partnership between Kendal on Hudson and Pace University creates an opportunity for students to get hands-on experience and learn about the opportunities for employment in aging services. At the same time, residents connect with the younger generation and share their knowledge.

Opportunities for Continual Learning

Another angle in which senior living and higher education are coming together is to provide opportunities for residents in senior living communities to audit or enroll in college classes.

Some senior living communities are becoming university-based senior living communities. Seniorliving.org describes these communities as “a university-based retirement community is a senior living option in which seniors over 55 have primary access to advanced educational opportunities. Seniors who live in university retirement communities do not have to be alumni to the schools in order to gain residency.”

The concept is growing in popularity since it began in 2009 due to aging adults still wanting to learn and engage with new opportunities after retiring.

Opportunities for Media Coverage

Senior living and higher education partnership stories have appeal on both social platforms and earned media channels, such as print, TV, and radio. The heartwarming human-interest stories that result from these partnerships become newsworthy hooks that engage readers and viewers.

For example, a story about a college student who volunteers at a senior living community and helps a resident pursue their hobbies by teaching them how to paint has a newsworthy benefit.

Often, stories highlight both the student and resident participating in activities and interacting with one another. These personal stories demonstrate that everyone can learn and discover new things, regardless of age.

When reaching wider audiences, combining target markets can be a powerful strategy.

This approach is particularly effective for higher education and senior living industries. By establishing partnerships or hosting events that bring these groups together, both can benefit from increased exposure and collaboration.

By working in tandem, these organizations can engage with a larger community and organize local events that showcase the strengths of higher education and senior living, generating a broader interest and helping to create a stronger sense of community and connection between these groups. Combining target markets can greatly expand your media relations efforts while building meaningful relationships and partnerships.

A Win-Win Opportunity

The collaboration between higher education and senior living communities is a win-win situation. Partnerships between the two organizations benefit older adults by providing them with opportunities to continue learning and engaging in meaningful relationships. It also enhances the academic experience for students by allowing them to engage with a diverse demographic while gaining hands-on experience in their field of study.

At AKCG, we specialize in supporting senior living and higher education institutions. Through media relations and thought leadership strategies, we continually look for innovative ways to communicate and elevate partnerships between senior living and higher education.

Emily Kowalenko

Emily Kowalenko works with the firm’s energy and senior living clients in the media relations and thought leadership practice.

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