I’ll admit it; I’m a binge watcher. When I find a show I love on Netflix, I might as well just block out the next few hours of my life. My latest binge watch session, however, provided a good dose of inspiration into how agencies could be marketing home care services better.
If you haven’t caught up on the two seasons of the newest installment of Queer Eye, I highly encourage you to give it a watch, preferably with a box of tissues nearby. The Fab Five, as the hosts of the show are known, are famous for giving people makeovers, a term often thought of as vain and superficial. But the makeovers on the show are designed with depth and meaning for each person, which got me thinking: How can the Fab Five’s approach translate to marketing home care?
Self-care isn’t vain; it’s vital.
Many of the people the Fab Five help are hardworking, selfless individuals so focused on giving to others that they neglect themselves – Mama Tammye from episode one, season two comes to mind. The guys often find that their subjects, or heroes as they are affectionately called, don’t care about their own clothes, grooming, or personal time because they are too busy caring for others.
Sound familiar? Too often, when family caregivers finally approach an agency to learn more about home care, they have lost themselves in the pursuit of providing “perfect” care for their loved ones. They feel guilty even considering taking time for themselves. It brings to mind a particular line that I love from Jonathan Van Ness, a member of the Fab Five whose focus is on grooming. He says, “It’s not vanity, it’s self-care. There’s a difference.” In a recent interview with NPR, he also references the age-old oxygen mask adage, “You gotta put your little mask on first, because if your little mask isn’t on, how are you gonna help me get my mask on?”
Self-care is essential in caring for others. Caring for yourself allows you to provide better care and guidance because you feel better and you give yourself time to rest and re-energize. Try using this line of thinking the next time you’re talking to a family caregiver who is feeling guilty about relinquishing care in order to take time for herself.
When the Fab Five get an assignment, typically they are meeting someone at a low point in his or her life. Many are down on themselves or stuck in a rut they can’t get out of. I’m reminded here of Neal from season one, episode two, who had stopped socializing with friends and even had a hard time being touched by and making eye contact with others.
It can be easy to criticize in situations like this. Why don’t you just go out more? Why are you acting so anti-social? You’ll never get what you want acting like this. But the Fab Five take a vastly different approach. They use relentless optimism as a motivator. And when I say relentless, I mean RE.LENT.LESS! They simply don’t let negative comments dominate any conversation. Pick any episode and you constantly hear things like, “Look at how gorgeous you are!” “Oh my God, honey, you’re amazing!” “You’ve GOT this!” Yes, they acknowledge the reality of the situation, but instead of dwelling on how bad things are, they present a vision of how things could be and keep encouraging the person to meet that vision by consistently reminding him of how awesome he is and how he has everything it takes to meet that vision.
Again, sound familiar? Home care clients are often stuck in a rut and resistant to change. But what if we approached home care with this idea of relentless optimism, acknowledging the client’s reality while offering a vision of a brighter future? I hear that you’ve not been getting out much lately, but our caregivers will have you going back to museums and visiting neighbors in no time! Once we get this kitchen organized, I want you to show me how to make your favorite cookie recipe!
Get out of your comfort zone.
A key aspect of any good makeover is getting people out of their comfort zones. The Queer Eye guys are great at easing their heroes into styles, haircuts, foods, and events they wouldn’t have attempted on their own. This is a great skill to have with home care clients, of course, but it’s also important when dealing with family caregivers. It’s difficult for caregivers to give up some control over their loved ones’ care. Even when the stress of caregiving is weighing on them, the control they have over care and their ability to provide it is their comfort zone; relinquishing care feels wrong and brings on feelings of guilt. Ease them into care like the Fab Five do by asking if they’ll try it. Offer a weekend trial for those who are reluctant to showcase how home care can benefit the whole family.
Health should be well rounded.
The Fab Five take a well-rounded approach to their makeovers, each focusing on a unique specialty – food, interior design, fashion, culture, and grooming. At first glance, these areas don’t look like they apply to home care or health, but look closer:
- Food: What and how your home care clients eat is incredibly important. Many have dietary issues and it’s also common for older adults to lose interest in food due to loneliness, medications, etc. Helping them eat well is a big part of a caregiver’s job and makes a lasting impact on the client’s health and happiness.
- Interior design: No, you’re not looking to Feng Shui a client’s home, but removing clutter, tidying, organizing, and making home modifications can make the home a safer, more pleasant environment.
- Fashion: Again, no one is walking a runway here, but fresh laundered clothing boosts confidence and may encourage a client to go out more.
- Culture: For home care clients, culture can mean just getting out of the house and socializing. Good social health has been proven to reduce cognitive decline, and getting together with friends just makes you feel good.
- Grooming: This one is rather self-explanatory, but feeling fresh and clean can make a world of difference in a client’s mood and health.
Don’t change, elevate.
When we think of the word “makeover” we often think the goal is change. But on Queer Eye, they are very clear that they want the person they’re working with to feel comfortable with and to like what they’re doing. So they’re not looking to change people; they’re looking to elevate the things they already love. The Fab Five spend a good amount of time asking questions and getting to know their heroes in order to elevate the style they already have. Similarly, a big fear that older adults have about home care is that there will be too much change or someone else will be “taking over.” Make it clear in your marketing and in your interactions with clients that your goal is to elevate the lives they’ve built, not change them.
Home care is a service that often feels weighted by illness, guilt, and even desperation, but it doesn’t have to. Take a few plays from the Fab Five’s playbook and give your home care marketing messages a makeover with positivity. The corecubed team can help! Contact us today to find out how we can help your brand, home care sales messaging, and marketing strategy go from drab to fab!