Senior citizens are constantly relocating to new assisted living facilities. On average, senior residents only stay in assisted living facilities for 22 months. The reasons vary case-by-case, but it is clear that people of this demographic move from facility-to-facility as often as Millennials transfer from job-to-job. The constant search for the next-best assisted living facility is something that directly impacts this industry in the form of retention rates.
Many assisted living communities focus their energy on bringing new residents into their doors. Although this is an important growth tactic, it can result in inadequate time being spent on retention. Below we’ve outlined some techniques that will work to boost your assisted living community’s retention rates.
Improve the Employee Experience
Employees play an integral role in resident retention. If a resident has a strong relationship with the staff, or has a favorite caregiver, they will be less likely to move out because of the bond they’ve formed. There are several ways you can improve the culture in your facility for happier employees, and in turn, lasting residents. For instance, hold a staff meeting every Monday to set the goals for the week and unify the team. You could also provide catered lunch to staff members on a regular basis. Additionally, give employees perks throughout the year, such as company outings or gift incentives. This will show your appreciation for their work and make them feel just as valuable as residents.
Encourage Participation in Physical Activity
Seniors are typically weak and frail due to low activity, which can lead to falls and further repercussions. With falls being the primary cause of death from injury for people 65 and older, it is essential to promote an active lifestyle to residents. Consider hosting fall prevention classes that educate residents and caretakers on how to avoid falls, as well as the steps to take if a fall does occur. You could also hold daily fitness programs, such as aerobics, stretching, and strength training to reiterate the importance of staying active and building muscle. Many communities don’t offer a diverse range of physical activity programs for residents. Therefore, you will immediately set your facility apart from others by offering these programs. It shows your interest in the well-being of residents, which can positively impact the number of residents who join and stay.
Prioritize Residents’ Social and Personal Needs
Create an environment that balances social interactions with privacy. For example, designate a common area for residents to watch television together, or set activities for each night – board games, crafting, growing indoor plants, etc. Setting up this social environment is a great way to foster relationships within the community. Residents who form strong bonds with other residents will be less likely to move out of the community, boosting your retention rate.
That being said, it is just as important to keep each resident’s personal needs top of mind. Encourage them to personalize their rooms with decorations, furniture and artwork that they prefer. A room that feels like home will make them more comfortable in your community. In fact, over 90% of the senior demographic feel like the comfort, ambiance, and cleanliness of the facility are crucial to an assisted living home. Residents will enjoy staying in your community if you balance their personal comforts with a social atmosphere.
Foster Family Relationships
Families and caregivers of seniors typically make the decision regarding the move to and from new facilities. If you receive a new resident, keep them in your facility longer by engaging their family members in your community. Host family holiday parties, hold one-on-one meetings with staff and family members, or plan family visits with residents. Furthermore, facilitate communication between families and residents in regard to medical needs, doctor visits, or errands to run. If you help families with these daily tasks, it will be an easier transition for the resident, as well as the caretakers. The more you engage families, the more comfortable and confident the families will feel in your facility, leading to long-term residents.
Boosting resident retention rates is a lot more than just increasing the numbers. It’s about connecting with your staff, residents, and their families and maintaining those relationships for the long-run. Spend time to improve the employee experience, encourage residents to participate in wellness programs, balance each resident’s social and personal needs, and nurture their relationships with family members. Far too often, residents leave assisted living facilities because they are unhappy with their surroundings. Use these tips in your community to focus on the quality of life for residents, ultimately giving them a place to call home.