1. Your Program is More Than a Calendar
The calendar is only 25% of engagement in your community. The remaining 75% is just as critical; resident discovery, fostering new and ongoing relationships between staff to residents and staff to staff, communication tactics, and partnerships with the greater community.
2. What if Residents Had a More Active Role in the Planning Process?
The approach to creating a calendar can look different! Resident designed. Weekly approach versus monthly approach.
3.Community Engagement = Collaboration
Interdepartmental collaboration between programming/activities, dining/culinary, sales, and marketing to ensure experiences are designed to be elevated and engaging and marketing and sales know-how to how to share via media and with prospective residents and families.
4. Turn Your Gaze Inward
Your greatest asset lives and works in your community….the residents and staff! Both are filled with passions and skills that can enhance community engagement. We cannot plan a life “for” someone, instead, it has to be “with.”
5. Stop Buying “Stuff”
Budget-friendly program opportunities….movement, breathing, going outdoors, gratitude, and building connections and what about being green and environmentally friendly.
6. Learning About the Growth Factor
Activities versus Programs….know the difference.
7. Boardroom Confidence
Take a seat at the table….how to make a business case for your needs.
8. Engagement Begins with Discovery
Resident discovery….what do you want to learn? Where does this information “live”? Who can access this information? How often do you update it?
9. Don’t Take it Personal – Level Up
Leaving the past in the past! How to move forward thoughtfully and professionally.
10. Self-Advocacy & Professional Development
Find a mentor! LinkedIn, fellow senior living colleagues, etc. Find someone who teaches you to have the confidence and demeanor to advocate for yourself with facts and data, not losing your composure and becoming emotional.
I posted an article on LinkedIn sharing perspectives on how engagement professionals can maintain the traction gained of respect and enhanced quality during the pandemic. Check it out for a free download of/ a Tips for Elevating Engagement Professionals handout as well as a full recording of a recent conversation with Sara Kyle and Kelly Stranburg with LE3Solutions and myself! You're sure to find encouragement, best practices, and next steps as you continue the good work in your community. AGE-u-cate and LE3Solutions are here to support you!
Navigating the Future is the theme for this year's National Activities Professional Week. What a great time to talk about the vital role that Activity Directors and Life Engagement Directors play in improving the quality of life for residents, enhancing family and staff satisfaction, and boosting the bottom line.
Coping with the loss of a family member may be one of the most complex challenges we face. When we lose a spouse, our grief can be particularly intense, and moving on after a long and happy marriage takes time. Loved ones can be catalysts in helping those grieving to find joy and happiness again.
Patricia (Dee) Hutchinson is AGE-u-cate Training Institute's Fulfillment Center Manager. I want to share her story about her father-in-law, Donald, and his journey from loss and grief to finding purpose and meaning after the loss of his wife. Here's their story:
AGE-u-cate was honored to welcome Stacy Porter from The Beryl Institute as guest presenter on our October Virtual Road Trip Webinar topic, "Becoming the Best Place to Be."
The Beryl Institute is a global community of healthcare professionals and experience champions committed to transforming the human experience in healthcare. Many of the institute professionals are Certified Patient Experience Professionals (CPXP) who are turning more attention to the Aging Services industry.Stacy's presentation was based on their recently published white paper entitled, "Becoming the Best Place to Be: Elevating the Experience in Senior Living."
Culture and Leadership
The Beryl Institute experience framework consists of eight components, with Culture & Leadership at the top. Stacy shared that the foundation of any successful experience effort is set on the purpose, values and how the organization is lead. Stacy offered steps organizations can take to begin transformation:
- Create a definition for resident experience
- Operationalize your mission/vision statements by bridging your purpose and aligned actions
- Ensure everyone who shows up to work has the skills and ability to execute on your purpose
Environment and Hospitality
Another component of the experience framework is Environment and Hospitality. The elders that participated in interviews indicated that they really look for a culture of home in their communities. Warm and fuzzy words come to mind when most people think of the word home: belonging, love, comfort, safety, relationships. acceptance.
- Live up to the meaning of community
- Take care to address isolation and loneliness
- Create transparency around death and dying
Inclusion is an essential to make any of this work. All stakeholders, most importantly those that live in the community, must be invited to become involved. Stacy concluded with this:
A fundamental shift in thinking and direction is needed. There is no normal to which to return.
AGE-u-cate is grateful for Stacy's time and valuable information shared on our Virtual Road Trip, and we look forward to continued collaboration.
AGE-u-cate® appreciates learning about organizations out there improving the lives of elders. I had the pleasure to meet Jared Bloomfield, the National Field Manager with Wish of a Lifetime at AARP. We connected after attending the Pioneer Network Symposium "Envisioning the Future Finding Meaning and Purpose" held on September 22.
Wish of Lifetime, a charitable affiliate of the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP), sponsored one of the sessions at the symposium called, " A New Look at Community Commitment: It’s All About Making Connections”. I was captivated and inspired by the presenters in this session: Mary Knapp, Annie Dunlap, and Kelly Klund who all shared the ways that their respective organizations are creating meaningful engagement opportunities for the elders they serve.
Wish of a Lifetime's mission is to shift the way society views and values our oldest generations by fulfilling seniors’ dreams and sharing their stories to inspire those of all ages. They are working hard to connect elders with amazing opportunities to fulfill a dream.
Become a Wish Nominator
"Wish of a Lifetime" has a Wish Team that reviews nominations submitted via their website. Jared shared that they have the capacity to accept more nominations! It seems that the pandemic has hijacked time that aging services staff might otherwise spend submitting an application on behalf of an elder, but Jared assured me that submitting an application is easy and worth it! A link to their website and nomination portal is below.
It has been said many times that the older generation has suffered the most from the effects of the pandemic because of the extended isolation and loneliness they have endured, so I jumped when I heard about this opportunity to share the call for nominations. To inspire motivation- read this story: Joy Takes Art Lessons.
AGE-u-cate will be keeping an eye on the good work of "Wish of a Lifetime", because we share a mission to improve the quality of life for elders through our engaging life enrichment programs Compassionate Touch, Reading2Connect, Ageless Grace, and Flashback.