Workforce Retention: Getting Back To The Basics

Posted by Julie Boggess on Aug 4, 2022 12:00:00 PM



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Topics: aging services workforce, employee retention, dignity, respect, appreciation

Radical Empathy: Can We Move the Needle?

Posted by Pam Brandon on Jul 28, 2022 12:00:00 PM
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Topics: empathy, Empathy Training, Empathetic Listening, cultivating empathy

Two Ways To Unleash Innovation & Increase Productivity In The Workplace

Posted by Laura Ellen Christian on Jul 21, 2022 12:00:00 PM


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Topics: leadership

Compassion Culture: Tips to Empower, Engage, & Retain Employees

Posted by Andrew Azzarello on Jul 14, 2022 12:16:13 PM

With CMS adding new metrics for turnover and staffing levels into the star system, healthcare leaders are looking for meaningful ways to retain staff. Employee empowerment is one key area of employee satisfaction often overlooked in a task-driven culture. A recent survey found that 2,034 nursing home administrators revealed a greater staff empowerment practice score was positively associated with greater retention.

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Topics: employee retention, employee engagement, empowerment

Compassionate Culture:  Driving Accountability In the Workplace

Posted by Julie Boggess on Jul 8, 2022 12:00:00 PM
A workplace culture of compassion fosters a caring and empathetic environment. W orkplace culture can directly influence recruitment, productivity, and retention  Certainly, unleashing the untapped compassion within our staff is close to impossible when morale is in the tank. Building a workplace culture of compassion is the best decision companies can make to influence their bottom line.
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Social Prescribing: The Framework  to Improve Health and Well-Being

Posted by Pam Brandon on Jun 30, 2022 6:00:00 PM

II was so grateful for having the opportunity to sit in on the recent ActivitiesStrong Summit hosted by Linked Senior, Activity Connection, NAAP, and NCAAP. This yearly event aims to acknowledge, educate and empower activity and life enrichment professionals and celebrate the longest day in honor of everyone living with cognitive change to honor the professionals who serve older adults in senior living. 

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How to Make Long-Term Care an Employer of Choice

Posted by Julie Boggess on Jun 21, 2022 9:32:45 PM


The workforce crisis in long-term care lingers as organizations desperately try to climb out from under the effects of the pandemic. The problem is so complex it feels too overwhelming to tackle, yet the current situation is not sustainable. The stress on administrators and the leadership team is taking a toll. Ensuring quality of care is simply impossible without a full complement of staff.

Human Resources professionals are working furiously to get people in and are gaining no ground due to turnover. The process of recruitment, hiring, and onboarding needs to be dramatically re-tooled to include intentional retention strategies.

A Path Toward Retention

The first hurdle is to create a new story about why someone should want to work in the aging services industry, and secondly, why long-term care?

The hard facts are important such as wages and benefits, work schedule, number of paid days off, etc. But there must be more to the picture. This industry has so much to offer that it should not be such a struggle to entice people to work for us.

Why Work in Aging Services

  • The opportunity for a legitimate career. Create a narrative about the job security afforded to people working in the industry and the plentiful growth opportunities. This must be the reality for all positions. Housekeepers can become infection prevention specialists and a dishwasher can become sanitation certified. Nursing assistants can become a team leader or scheduler, and a receptionist can become the concierge. We must begin to think about the growth path for all positions.
  • The work is meaningful and soul-filling. We need to talk more about the purpose and mission of our work. We help elders live their best lives toward the end of their lives.
  • The ability to make a difference. Show up with a smile, hugs, understanding, and empathy, and you will get so much back in return, one person at a time. 
  • The gift of working where people live. Being in relationship with elders means we can hear their stories and benefit from their wisdom.

Why Work in Long-Term Care

  • The ability to serve the under-served. Talk about being part of a team that cares for people who have often lost their family and friends and depend upon the care and kindness of others.
  • Be an agent of change. Acknowledge that there is room for improving how we care for frail elders and need people who can help transform the way things are done.
  • Specialization. Discuss opportunities to dig into specialty areas such as hospice, rehabilitation, dementia care, culture change. Build into your retention system the education and training needed to guide people in their areas of strength.

Why Work for Your Community

Find ways to differentiate your community and make it easier for a recruit to say yes.

  • Competitive wages must be a component in this market, but not the only strategy.
  • Beginning day one, communicate your willingness to invest in each employee by inquiring about interests, goals, and ambitions.
  • Create robust career ladders for all positions. High-quality, relevant, engaging training and education is a critical component of any growth strategy. 

Gather insight from your leadership team and a sample of employees with this recruitment and retention temperature tool.  An effective strategy can begin with first understanding your organization's strengths and areas for improvement.

Access Recruitment and Retention Temperature Tool



About the author:

Julie joined the AGE-u-cate team in 2020 after working 31 years in nursing home operations. Starting in social services and admissions, she moved into management and executive positions in 1990 after obtaining an Illinois nursing home administrator license. Her passion for dementia capable care came early in her career when she had the good fortune to work with and learn from culture change pioneers. Julie is also an adjunct instructor in Gerontology and Aging Services at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. She lives in the Northwest Chicago Suburb of Schaumburg, Ill.

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Topics: retention, recruitment, worforce

How Skilled Nursing Communities Can Get QAPI Resources at No-Cost

Posted by Julie Boggess on Jun 10, 2022 1:33:33 PM

Searching for effective Quality Assurance/Performance Improvement (QAPI) Projects for Certified Nursing Communities is daunting. From finding the right project to looking for available resources can become challenging in our post-pandemic environment.   

Fortunately, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) are legislatively mandated to provide funding to states for projects that improve the quality of life and the quality of care in certified nursing communities.  The program is the Civil Monetary Penalty Grant Program (CMP).

What is a CMP Grant?

The Civil Monetary Penalty Grant (CMP) program takes a portion of fines paid by nursing communities for regulatory infractions and funnels dollars back to states that accept applications to expend funds for projects that improve the quality of life and care for residents living in dually certified nursing communities.  AGE-u-cate writes grant applications to states to bring our programs to dually certified communities at no cost to them.

How is it No Cost?

Dually certified communities that decide to engage with AGE-u-cate on a grant project pay nothing because the funds are provided through the state directly to AGE-u-cate.  This model allows the community to focus on performance improvement without the financial stress truly.  Note:  Every state implements CMP projects differently, so please check with us first.

How Can a Grant Project Help with QAPI?

Dually certified communities are required by federal regulation to engage in projects that measure and drive improvement in quality outcomes.  It takes a lot of time to create an effective initiative from the ground up and keep all the balls juggling; this is where AGE-u-cate can assist.  Our no-cost grant projects are organized as "QAPI in a box."  We give communities all the tools needed to implement a project and measure the impact to staff and outcomes for the residents.  You don't need to create the wheel because we've already done that work. 

How We Can Help You

We will support the application process every step of the way and work with you to customize the project to fit your specific needs. 

AGE-u-cate provides you with the resources to train, educate and build staff skills that will directly benefit your residents, which is a key component of any CMP project. All three AGE-u-cate programs have realized positive outcomes, and we provide you with support to sustain the program and collect outcomes.  

Projects include online training for designated program coaches, onsite training for all staff delivered by an AGE-u-cate Certified Master Trainer, and subscriptions for our one-hour device-enabled microlearning staff training modules that reinforce the key components of each program and promote sustainability.

Explore Funding Opportunities in Your State

Qualifying Programs

If your community needs a boost in Dementia Training, consider our program Dementia Live, a high-impact dementia simulation experience that immerses participants into life with dementia, resulting in a deeper understanding of what it’s like to live with cognitive impairment and sensory change.





If you need to equip your staff with a tool that reduces and even prevents resident stress reactions from residents in their care, consider Compassionate Touch, a caregiving approach that includes skilled touch and specialized communication shown to prevent stress reactions for people living with dementia and enhance the quality of life for those in later stages of life. Through this program, care partners also enjoy the benefits of reduced stress and increased job satisfaction associated with positive human connections.





Reading2Connect® is a resident-directed, Montessori-based program that provides staff training and specialized reading materials to engage residents of all abilities. The Reading2Connect® Program sparks residents’ imaginations, personal stories, laughter, an interest in learning, and much more. This program empowers residents, fostering enthusiastic participation, independence, and social connections.

View Reading2Connect in Action- Take 1



Please don't hesitate to reach out and start the process.  Our job is to make your job easier!

More information about accessing CMP funds



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Topics: QAPI

Compassionate Leadership: Building MORALE

Posted by Laura Ellen Christian on Jun 2, 2022 12:00:00 PM
Cultivating my ability to be a good leader has been 18 years in the making, and what I've learned most is that becoming a good leader is a journey, not a destination. And a key ingredient is cultivating compassion.
As an executive for a senior living management company, I was directly responsible for a team of six people and indirectly responsible for each Engagement Director across a 40+ community landscape. That's almost 50 people who were relying on me in some way to be a good leader! Luckily, I worked for a company that prioritized people and consistently created a culture anchored in a growth mindset. 
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Topics: compassionate touch, Caregiver Burnout, cultivating empathy, compassionate leadership, growth mindset

Dementia Training: Simulation Training for Nursing Students

Posted by Pam Brandon on May 26, 2022 1:31:47 PM

What is a Dementia Simulation?

Dementia simulation allows students to walk in the shoes of those with dementia- to experience the world as they experience it. We explain Dementia Live® as the 'Inside-Out' experience, allowing participants to take that deep dive into understanding what it might be like to live with the extraordinary physical and emotional challenges accompanying cognitive change.

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Topics: Dementia simulation

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