Kaitlyn Mulligan

Poverty affects people of all ages and demographics. It is an especially relevant strain for those in the senior community. If trends continue, it is estimated that those 65 and older will face poverty rates similar to those during the Great Depression. Women are particularly vulnerable to this struggle. While the poverty rate of all seniors is alarming, studies show that women ages 65 and older are 80 percent more likely to be impoverished than men the same age. Regardless of race, marital status or educational background, senior women find themselves facing a 4.7 percent higher poverty rate than their male counterparts. In addition, those women 65 and older who live alone encounter the most extreme rates of poverty, with one in five suffering financially.

Why is there such a difference for this particular group?

Statistically, women live longer than men. The national average life expectancy is currently 79.13 years. For males, specifically, that average drops to 76.73. For females, it increases to 81.64 years. With the extra years come extra costs: housing, food, health care, etc. — and that is typically extra money that women might not have.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, for every dollar a man earns, a woman only earns around 79 cents. In addition, many women put careers on hold to become stay-at-home mothers. This means that women start out at an economic disadvantage coming into their retirement years, especially if they are alone.

Marketing to this group is important. Not only is made up of people who need what you may be offering, but it can fill a void you may be having in your communities. Those ever-tough-to-sell one-bedroom units could be the best fit for a single, widowed or divorced woman. These are the people who are looking for comfort and care but don’t have the money or need for certain amenities or extra space.

Another selling point for a community is that, generally, it is filled with women like those in the target group. The commodity of friendship can attract those who might not live with others or who think they are missing out on social activities because of where they are living.

When marketing to these women, focus on the benefits that a community can bring: security, socialization and a space meant for them. Know your audience and listen to their needs. In this case, the needs of your audience include an affordable place to live without the burden of too much space or upkeep. Give these women ways to live without breaking the bank. Provide opportunities for them to interact with others. Offer them an answer to their worries about retirement.