Five Resolutions for Senior Living Communities in the New Year

Senior Living Communities | 2018 Strategies

As you plan for the year ahead, don’t forget to make some resolutions for yourself and for your senior living community. Though your personal resolutions may be hard to see through, there are plenty of senior-living resolutions that are worth sticking to. After a year of connecting with leaders and employees working in senior living, here are some of our recommended resolutions:

1. Install Community-Wide WiFi
For years, you’ve made excuses. Community-wide WiFi is too expensive. Installing it will disrupt operations. You can spend the money elsewhere.

In reality, though, WiFi is the ultimate jumping-off point for most of the other senior care technologies you’ll eventually want to implement. The sooner you take the plunge and invest in community-wide enterprise WiFi, the sooner you’ll be able to call your community truly technologically savvy. Additionally, as an increasing number of seniors adopt technology as a part of their daily lives, providing residents with access to WiFi will become an expectation rather than a luxury.

2. Prepare a Few New Meals Every Month
You know what they say, “variety is the spice of life”. So, why not spice up your community’s dinner menu with a little variety?

Challenge your chef and dining staff to come up with a few new dishes every month this year then survey residents for their opinions on the new dishes. Keep track of residents’ responses and add the most-loved meals into regular rotation. This will also help monitor the nutrition and eating habits of your residents, which can be used to identify any changes in condition.

3. Provide Additional Training to Staff
Staff retention was a hot issue in 2017, and unfortunately, that’s not expected to change as we head into 2018. Now, more than ever, senior living communities should be brainstorming about how to positively engage and retain their staff — and providing ongoing staff training is a great way to accomplish that.

Staff who understand how to best use the tools they’re provided with feel more empowered and are more satisfied with their work. Take it from Tucson, AZ-based Watermark Retirement Communities: providing staff with ongoing training and support not only keeps current staff engaged and satisfied, but also attracts strong job candidates to your organization.

4. Branch Out in the Activities Department
Let’s face it — bingo is old news. In 2018, take some time to scrutinize the activities and programming your community offers. If your records show that residents are never signing up for music classes, consider swapping music classes out for activities residents have expressed interest in, but your community has yet to offer. On the flip side, if certain activities regularly have a waitlist, consider scheduling them more often so more residents can participate.

Need some inspiration? Click here to check out some of what we think are the most creative summertime activities at senior living communities nationwide. It’s very possible that an intergenerational summer camp, like the one that’s held at Front Porch’s Villa Gardens CCRC in Pasadena, CA, will also work wonders for your community.

5. Adopt a Community Pet
Having a pet on the premises is a great way of increasing life enrichment and can contribute to overall resident satisfaction. It doesn’t have to be a dog (which can be a lot of work) or a cat (which a surprising number of people may be allergic to) — a community in San Anselmo, CA, for instance, has a duck named Juanita. Just don’t let the pet run (or fly) away.

Here’s to all of your resolutions — and your community’s resolutions — in 2018. Happy New Year!

To learn how other providers are preparing for the year ahead, click here.

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