Improving the Senior Resident Experience

For many Seniors the transition into a Senior Living Community can be a scary and daunting Assisted Living imageendeavor.  Of course it is.  Most of these individuals have spent sometimes upwards of 40-50 years in the same house.  They spent years watching their grandchildren run and play in the same backyard that their own children did and embracing every memory they could.  This was, after all, their home.

Now it is time for a new chapter in their life.  The transition into a Senior Living Community is a life-altering decision.  However, if the right community is selected, it can be the best thing that they have ever done for themselves and their family. Today’s competitive Senior Living world is all about the resident experience.  Many communities strive to create a wonderful resident experience that will not only improve the lives of their residents but hopefully help bring in more seniors.

Five Ways to Improve the Senior Resident Experience:

1.  No Odors:  There is nothing worse than walking into a Senior Living Community and being hit with an unpleasant odor.  This will not only greatly impact the happiness of the residents and their visiting families, it is also an immediate deal breaker for prospective visitors. Do whatever you have to do to get rid of the odor!

2. Quality Food:  A community can have lavish furnishings, exquisite artwork and fantastic views, but if the food is sub par, then the community will fail; this is an unfortunate truth.  Residents and family members demand good food.  The best thing a quality community can do is hire an executive chef with a Culinary Arts Degree or Certification. The quality of the food will make or break the community.

3. Robust Activity Calendar:  Walk into some senior living communities and take a look at the activity calendar.  If it says 10am Bingo, 1pm Bingo, 3pm Bingo, 6pm Bingo then this is not the place for your parents. A quality community will have many variable activities for all walks of life such as: book clubs, arts and crafts, card games, movies and aerobics.  Residents that are able to keep busy, interact with others, and share stories and life experiences will be happier.

4. Give a Voice to the Residents:  Executive Directors and Administrators that live in their own little bubble are not good managers.  The voice of the resident must be heard.  Provide a mechanism for residents and family members to voice their opinions and concerns.  This can be in the form of suggestion boxes, resident councils and customer satisfaction surveys.  Promote these vehicles and take the information seriously.  Quick resolution to issues and concerns will resonate throughout the community.

5.  Create a Family Culture: This begins at the top.  The Executive Director must promote a culture of kindness towards families, residents, and employees.  Treat your employees like they are special and they will, in turn, treat the residents special.  The best answer a resident can give when asked how do you like it here is, “The staff treats me so great.”   Treating a resident with kindness and respect will make a more lasting impression. 

Relocating to a Senior Living Community does not have to be a scary transition.  A great resident experience can make your community a place where residents and family members are proud to live and visit.