With two decades of industry experience, Ken Claire is using senior living marketing to make a difference in the lives of seniors.

In college, Ken Claire knew he wanted to work in the health care field. To prepare, he majored in recreation therapy and landed an internship at a local hospital.

Claire didn’t, however, expect to specialize in senior care—until his internship supervisor noticed his knack for easily establishing rapport with senior patients.

After graduating from California State University, Claire found a senior living community that was looking for an activities director; and his career was set in motion. “I kind of fell in love with that concept of making a difference in someone’s life every day,” he says. “That’s what has inspired me for the last 20 years.”

During that time, Claire has held a number of senior care-related positions. He was vice president of sales and marketing at a senior living provider overseeing 74 communities; in another position he also served as regional director of operations leading 13 communities.

Since arriving at Elder Care Alliance in September, Claire has worked to help caregivers and other employees promote a holistic approach to wellness, which involves providing seniors with care for physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational, and spiritual needs.

Claire generally logs some office time at Elder Care Alliance’s Alameda headquarters but primarily travels between communities, helping staff members sharpen their sales and marketing skills.

“My role mostly involves being in training and coaching mode,” Claire says. “On a typical day, I join the morning team meeting to listen to what’s going on in the community to see what I can do to support them from a marketing perspective.”

Claire’s position also includes outreach efforts directed toward other senior care professionals.

“A lot of my job involves developing partnerships in the community,” he says. “Anybody from a senior real estate agent to fiduciary professionals and hospitals—letting them know who we are and what we do.”

Claire hopes that this outreach will give the professionals he connects with the knowledge they need to share information about assisted living community options—which could help individuals and families find out about Elder Care Alliance services before they need them.

“Usually, when people come to us, it’s in a time of crisis—it’s the fall, or the missed medication that prompts them to look for a senior residence,” he says. “We wish we could educate people better on what assisted living is like. It’s not a place to die; it’s a place to thrive.”

Being able to personally deliver that message, using a hands-on approach, was a major reason Claire accepted the position at Elder Care Alliance. On any given day, he’s happy to do anything from role-playing with staff members to help them practice closing a sale to assisting a resident’s family as they move furniture, which is something he recently did.

“I get joy out of finding people and helping them find us, making that connection and solving their problem or just meeting expectations, from a customer standpoint,” Claire says. “That gets me going through the day.”