We’re one month in to 2017, and for many of us, the start of a new year brings optimism and aspirations for the coming year. And when it comes to your senior living aspirations, we’re here to help.
Here are three strategies that will help your senior living community specifically boost and maintain its occupancy in 2017:
1. Eliminate under-valued ‘frills.’
Expensive flower beds surrounding your community look absolutely lovely — but they may not provide the best return on investment. For prospective clients shopping around for a new residence, the aesthetics are table stakes. Will your residents really value that thousands of dollars routinely go toward landscaping, for example, when that money could instead be spent on wellness, fitness or rehab services that specifically keep residents healthy and in the community?
All too often, senior living communities prioritize their expenses incorrectly, and end up spending money that won’t allow them to properly address the future needs of residents, according to a July 2016 Senior Housing News article. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
In 2017, senior living communities should look into cutting unnecessary expenses in order to invest more wisely, elsewhere. The exact cost-cutting or budget adjustment measures vary by community, but with some introspection, can definitely be identified and remedied.
2. WiFi for all.
Plenty of senior living communities currently have computer labs, libraries, or specific areas dedicated to residents’ Internet use. That’s great, but limiting Internet access to designated areas is just that… limiting.
For the family and the resident of today’s savvy consumer, it will not be sufficient for communities to only enable Internet access on one floor, let alone in one room. Older Americans are increasingly familiar with technology, according to The New York Times. Chances are, senior living residents won’t want to be told when and where they can stream television and video chat with family on their different gadgets.
In 2017, seriously consider investing in community-wide WiFi (with the money you saved from cutting unnecessarily frills, perhaps). Your residents — with their laptops, Fitbits and tablets in tow — will thank you, and your community’s staff will, too. Remember, WiFi attractively enables associates to access electronic health records, community information, resident data, and more wherever they may be — all with the click of a button.
3. Prioritize wellness.
It’s one thing to succeed in securing a new resident move-in; it’s another to keep that new resident for the long-term. That’s where wellness initiatives will translate into a strategic play.
Senior living wellness initiatives help keep residents healthy and strong, according to national senior living organization Argentum. And a resident whose wellness needs are met, regardless of changes to health, are more likely to stay in place longer. Plus, certain wellness initiatives can end up saving communities plenty of cash: in one year, an ABHOW continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Arizona was on track to save over $113,000 due to its wellness programs, Argentum noted.
In 2017, instead of treating residents only when their health declines, consider offering programs to prevent them from getting sick in the first place. Your residents will appreciate it, and so will your census numbers. By leveraging the tools available, such as an electronic health record (EHR) platform, your staff can document and monitor resident conditions. That way, if there’s a change in health or behavior, it can be identified quickly — allowing your staff to intervene before a condition worsens.
These, in our opinion, are some strategies that senior living organizations can stick to all year. If you make the right investments and the right moves — you’ll have a prosperous 2017 with even stronger occupancy levels.assisted living senior care trends senior living tech innovation technology