Rethinking Resident Engagement in Senior Living
Let’s face it – trying to brainstorm, prep, host, and make sure residents attend and enjoy your events is no easy feat. In order to move forward and rethink resident engagement, we must look at the larger picture of our community. The pandemic shut down most activities and events, making it harder to plan and leaving residents more isolated than ever. But, it also allowed us to be creative and come up with new ideas to bring our communities together. It also made us ask questions to evaluate how we can improve for the future.
Below we walk through how you can jumpstart resident engagement. From resident check-ins to adopting new resources, here are some of our ideas to help your community.
Get to Know Your Residents
A key part of increasing resident engagement in your community is, you guessed it, the resident! In order to plan activities and strengthen your community, you must first get to know your residents. Planning requires active inquiry into who your residents are and what they like to do. And, most importantly, what they want to achieve as a member of your senior living community. It is crucial that your resident has a purpose and recognizes that they are a core participant in your community’s success.
To achieve this, here are some questions you can ask your residents:
- What currently brings you joy?
- How can we support you in achieving a sense of purpose?
- What are some of your favorite pastimes?
- What do you value, and how do you express your values?
- Would you please walk us through your daily routine? What is your favorite part of your day? What would you like to change? If possible, what would you like to do more of?
With these more profound questions, you will get a better sense of who your residents are. It is important that you check in with your residents regularly, not just once when they move in. Why, do you ask? Everyone’s interests change! To make sure your residents are engaged daily and during community activities, you must always be aware of what matters most to them.
Quality Over Quantity
If one thing is for sure, not all residents are the same. So, why would you expect all residents to participate in all activities? Instead of filling up the calendar with events and convincing residents to attend, find ways to personalize events. What residents truly want is a unique experience tailored to them. That means not every resident wants to participate in a group activity or go to the same event every week. Therefore, having a unique variety of options that the resident can choose from, both while in a group and individually, will enable residents to have the power and motivation to choose what they want to do.
The next time you are planning your events, keep these questions in mind:
- Am I planning activities just to fill up our calendar?
- Are there options for both introverted and extroverted residents?
- Do I include activities that are accessible for all residents?
- Is resident feedback a part of my event and activity planning?
Invest, Invest, Invest!
Last but not least, you have to invest! First, you need to invest in your directors to take the time to get to know residents and plan meaningful activities. Investing means providing them with ample time and resources to support residents in the best way possible. It is truly an investment for all facets of your community (caregiving, marketing, and more) when your residents are engaged and happy.
Second, your community needs to invest in new tools and experiences. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that seniors need virtual avenues to connect with the world around them. Technology like Amazon’s Alexa can empower residents to explore the internet, find entertaining games, listen to music, and more! With technology, residents can also communicate with their friends, family, and caregivers. With applications like Speak2 Family, seniors will have more of an opportunity to partake in virtual activities, talk to virtual pen-pals, and stay in touch with friends and family. In short, investing in easy-to-use technology is worth it when it will increase resident engagement.
Want to know what makes Speak2 Family easy for seniors to use and essential for senior living communities? Check out how Cedarhurst of Yorkville uses Speak2!
Increasing resident engagement in your senior living community won’t happen overnight. But, with these tips and tools, we hope more residents will embrace your community’s events and activities!
What have you done to increase resident engagement in your community? Let us know in the comments below, or tag us on social media with your ideas!