The Path to Empathy In Senior Living Communities

As a coach and onsite trainer in the senior housing industry, I’ve spent a lot of time dissecting and working through leads with sales professionals. I’ve come to realize that we can sometimes show a real lack of empathy towards these families who so desperately rely on us for help.

The instinct of sales people who work in senior housing is correct – they’re trying to connect but they’re doing so with sympathy not empathy, which is a much deeper form of connection. Why? What’s wrong with our approach?

When you empathize, you are able to reach people on a much deeper level. You are able to demonstrate that you understand their feelings and can say, “I know it hurts” rather than, “I’m sorry it hurts.”

With sympathy, you feel sorrow or pity but you don’t specifically understand what they’re feeling. It takes time, work and reflecting on our own past experiences to get to empathy.

Jennifer Lottis