How Benchmark at Forge Hill Uses Caremerge to Strengthen Family Engagement
Moving a family member into a memory care or assisted living community can be stressful. What if you can’t visit as much as you’d like? How will you know what they’re up to each day in a senior living community if they have memory loss?
Assisted living technology can make this transition a lot smoother. Better communication can help ease family members’ anxieties about residents’ well-being, and digital platforms enable staff to manage these communications at scale.
Lois Abramo is the Programs Director at Benchmark at Forge Hill, an assisted living and memory care community in Franklin, Massachusetts. Here, she shares how Forge Hill has been able to deepen residents’ relationships with family members with the help of the Caremerge Family Engagement solution.
Running the Numbers: Leverage the Reports Feature to Increase Family Usage Rates
An assisted living technology solution is only as strong as the number of people who use it.
Caremerge was already in place at Forge Hill when Lois joined as the Programs Director three years ago. Thanks to the platform’s user-friendly interface, she had no trouble learning how to use it.
Lois is a “big reports person,” and she sees metrics as an important tool in driving engagement in senior living communities. Right upon starting her role, Lois ran the Reports feature in the Family Engagement app to gauge how many families were using it so that she could send out invites to those who weren’t.
Lois continues to use the Family Engagement Reports to keep a pulse on how many new family members have joined, which lets her ensure everyone who wants to use the app knows about it.
Caremerge’s Activity Feed and Photo Sharing Makes Family Members Feel Closer to Their Loved Ones
Lois loves using the Family Engagement Activity Feed to generate conversations between residents and family members.
Forge Hill’s assisted living activity calendar is entirely public to family members who use the app. Family members can browse the calendar each day and see which events their loved one has attended.
This way, family members don’t need to rely on hearing directly from a resident about what they’ve been up to, which may be difficult if the resident has dementia. Instead, they can say directly, “I see you went to the holiday dinner yesterday! What did you have to eat?” These more direct questions can help jog residents’ memories to have more meaningful conversations.
The ability to track a resident’s activity attendance can give family members peace of mind, too. If a family member notices a resident hasn’t been to as many activities as usual the past week, they can reach out to check in on how their loved one is doing.
Lois also created a two-way photo sharing exchange on Caremerge between residents and family members. She and her team send out photos of residents to their family members weekly at various events they attend. In turn, family members started sending photos back on the app so that residents can see what their loved ones back home are up to.
Forge Hill Sets Residents Up for Success at Move-In with the Family Engagement App
When a new resident moves into Forge Hill, their family members receive a one-pager about the Family Engagement App to get them oriented with the platform. This shows family members right away that they’ll be able to keep in close touch with their loved ones while they’re far from the community.
Once family members are set up on the app, Lois immediately begins sharing notes and photos with them. “If a new resident has made a friend or attended their first activity, I’ll send a photo to the family,” she says. This practice can help ease any concerns about residents’ transition – and it’s fun for new residents and their families.
Typically between 80 and 90 percent of resident families respond and begin using the app during the first 30 days. For those who are hesitant, Lois sends out a reminder every 30 days to ensure usage rates are high among new families and adoption is high.
A Digital Family Engagement System Makes Forge Hill Prepared for the Future
Now that the assisted living activity calendar at Forge Hill is back up and running after a long pandemic pause, Lois is excited to see residents attending more activities so that they can share their experiences with their families.
She’s also happy to see that family members can visit the community in person once again. Still, there’s no telling if the community will need to close its doors to visitors due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Having the Family Engagement app in place ensures assisted living and memory care residents can feel connected to their loved ones digitally, no matter how far away they are.
To learn about how Caremerge can support your community’s family engagement strategy