Getting to 100%

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Getting to 100%

Posted on November 29, 2021

As this year comes to an end, it can be helpful to set aside time to reflect on what we have achieved and celebrate those successes with our teams. It is also beneficial to take stock of what obstacles we are facing and consider what adjustments we can make in our personal and professional lives so that we can remove those barriers as a new year begins.

The senior living industry needs to celebrate the fact that vaccination rates are high among residents, family members and volunteers are now free to visit communities safely and that a more interdisciplinary approach to resident engagement and care has taken hold from coast to coast.

At the same time, we are still struggling to meaningfully engage every resident, an obstacle that continues to negatively impact the health and wellbeing of older adults. In a recent #ActivitiesStrong webinar survey with more than 300 respondents, life enrichment and activity professionals shared that they are not able to meaningfully engage more than 85% of their residents currently.

Looking towards 2022, how can we ensure that every resident is meaningfully engaged even when our communities continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and grapple with widespread staffing shortages?

The Linked Senior team spoke with Marvell Adams Jr., Chief Operating Officer at the Kendal Corporation to learn how their communities are working toward engaging 100% of residents in a purposeful way every day. Marvell shared that one cornerstone of their approach is to have staff members share their own passions with residents so that engagement is authentic and has a better chance of being well-received. Furthermore, he shared that there is true power in intentionally including all team members of the community no matter their title when it comes to engagement. When an administrator or an executive is approached by a life enrichment or activity professional and asked to be a part of engaging all residents, there is buy-in and that person is more likely to say yes to the request to participate.

These suggestions are all in line with what we have found in talking with our own clients and partners in the senior living industry this year. There are several ways that we can work together in our communities to get as close as we can to meaningfully engaging 100% of our residents:

  • Find Creative Ways to Encourage Residents to Spend Time Outside of their Rooms – the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety measures put in place have led to lingering fears among residents and a hesitancy to re-join group activities. If we learn about the needs and preferences of each resident, we can be more successful in encouraging them to leave their rooms.
  • Embrace the Power of Interdisciplinary Approaches to Engagement – there has sadly been an exodus of team members from the senior living industry in the past two years of pandemic and this has put a strain on those who have remained in communities. The more we can encourage all team members, not just activity and life enrichment professionals, to meaningfully engage residents the more successful we can be in optimizing care with a smaller staff.
  • Invest in Technology that Increases Efficiency around Non-Engagement Activities – When used in a targeted way, technology can eliminate the need to spend hours on documentation and paper-based care planning so that staff members have more time in the day to dedicate to meaningful resident engagement.

Taken together, these strategies are a great foundation for building a strong approach to meaningful and purposeful resident engagement in the new year. Now is the time to take these steps and make a resolution to get to 100% in 2022!

This blog post was written in partnership with Marvell Adams, Jr., Chief Operating Officer of the Kendal System