Tools of Engagement: 4 ways to put residents in charge

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Tools of Engagement: 4 ways to put residents in charge

Posted on June 21, 2010

Communities that are successfully enhancing their residents’ activity and life enrichment program often point to a simple strategy: ask them what they want to do. Today’s seniors and people retiring in the coming future seem to be more eager to participate in activity planning than residents in years past. To start off this kind of program, it is important that initiatives to collect feedback are resident friendly and clear on the information that is being collected.

  • A very effective tool is the use of frequent surveys to assess what resident like or don’t like about activities. This can also be used in conjunction with an idea box that lets people provide suggestions anonymously if desired.
  • Inviting residents to join activity-planning committees is an engaging way to improve the activity and life enrichment calendar. Very often, this will help them voice their opinion, enhance the quality of the programming and support the staff.
  • Resident-run activities have proven to be well attended; they also provide an opportunity for programming during weekends or holidays. It is a nice way to reduce the load on staff and volunteers.
  • To boost activity participation, a community can also roll out an educational initiative to familiarize all staff with the program schedule and ways they can gently motivate reluctant residents to attend activities they might enjoy. For example, beyond just advertising activities, staff can identify activities that match the interests of specific residents—and then extend personal invitations based on that knowledge. We all know that when the suggestion is personalized, it works in a different way, and greatly improves the chances that a resident will participate.

As communities move closer to a life enriching attitude towards activities for their residents, including them in the programming process is a natural step as they are eager to voice their opinions. It provides staff with resources when budgets are being tougher to deal with and helps marketing show prospective families how great a place is. Finally, it is a fantastic way to empower residents; after all, it’s their home, it’s their community.