There are many senior living providers that will do everything possible for a brand-new resident, and that is not enough to be able to prevent the resident from moving out a month or so later. However, the aspects of socialization are one that will make the biggest difference when it comes to occupancy, and it can keep new residents from feeling lost or lonely at their new home.
The Houston based senior living company, Belmont Village has 31 communities and after the first 30 days and then after 60 days, they survey new residents as well as family members when a resident moves in. It has been concluded that within 90 days, those new residents who do not make any friends will often move out.
Not to mention, those residents who do not make friends can even face a more serious fate than just moving out, according to CEO of Thrive Senior Living, Tammy Marshall.
She stated that if you are not able to build a connection type of feeling, then the resident will move. However, there is a fate that is much worse and that is when there is a failure to thrive. A failure to thrive can be describe as a senior that just wants to live at a location and have no zest or desire for life at all.
With these types of stakes being taken into consideration, many senior living providers which include, Mather which is based in Evanston, Illinois and Thrive Senior Living in Atlanta, Georgia have invested the time and money to find the right type of formula that can be used in order to improve retention of the residents after they move in. This has included a lot of creative ideas, like Thrive’s version of a more traditional Japanese practice.
Overall, it is these providers who state that investing into the experience of the resident over the first 90 days are going to be a very worthwhile investment with this being done in the form of increased wellbeing and occupancy.
Going Beyond the Red Carpet
When new residents move to the senior living community, they are often welcomed by large exhibitions. But while the community can put the red carpet into storage and remove confetti from the floor, it cannot easily eliminate residents’ fear of isolation. It is because of this that Marshall believes that the community must not only roll out all the red carpets, but also begin to create a sense of normality on the first day.
According to Marshall, if they provide a huge flashy red-carpet rollout on Monday, but when it comes to being Wednesday, no one looks at you or they forget your name, then that destroys trust and destroys the experience. Consistency is going to be the biggest thing that any senior living community will need to go for because where there is consistency, then there will be trust.
Thrive employees warmly welcome residents, while the red carpet only comes to the front door, but at the end of the carpet, there is a person whom the residents have contacted, usually a sales team or nurse. In this way, new residents will see a familiar face when they arrive, not just a room full of strangers.
Thrive also combines its residents with moai or people with a common purpose or background. Although this originates within Okinawa, Japan, this concept has recently gained popularity in the book Dan Buettner’s “Blue Zones” and is considered a factor of healthy longevity and aging.
In Okinawa, moai sometimes meets early in childhood, and these groups have become a type of second family throughout their lives. Buettner writes that they provide emotional support and even provide financial assistance, which is considered to be one of the reasons why Okinawa is known for having particularly long lives.
Prosperous residents’ group them according to their own interests and history, just like serving in the military or like weaving, which Marshall calls “matching passion.” In this way, residents have a common sense of understanding since the first interaction. The ultimate goal is to try to help residents find similar people who can support them in good times and bad times and avoid feeling isolated. Marshall said: “As soon as they enter, we will try to build a network of friends. If you have only one or two people in your life, your overall quality of life will be different.”
Like Thrive, Rancho Vistoso’s Splendido is also a life plan community of Mather’s in Tucson, Arizona, and has a red carpet for residents. However, unlike some, the community no longer pays attention to the grand occasion and the environment, but pays more attention to the transformation of residents into new lifestyles. Based on the actual moving day, Splendid’s moving coordinator and interior designer Marisela Panzarella helped manage the logistics, from calling the mover to determining where the residents’ furniture was placed to make sure everything was ok. The cable and the Internet are installed. According to Panzarella, the community then relies on its residents-led steering committee to welcome new residents.
Removing the Barriers
There is a similar process that works at The Moments which is memory care community and has 32 suites that is located within Lakeville, Minnesota. This community has its very own moving team and offers these services to new residents as a complimentary program, according to the President of The Moments, Robyn Johnson.
When it comes to move in day, The Moments will actually schedule a meal at the community with the new resident as well as their family. Then the community movers will be moving all of the resident’s things into their brand-new home while they are at dinner.
This allows one of the main stressors that a new resident may have to be removed and this allows them to have more time to be able to create social ties within the community.
The very first 3 weeks are going to be the most important when it comes to how you can help a family and the resident. If there is not any sense of relief within the beginning, then you are going to be facing a possibility making that resident a higher demand, high touch type of client or possibly even losing them.
It is this way of doing things that has really paid off for The Moments. The community is still fully occupied with a long waiting list and they are in the process of working to add on at least another 60 units.