Life enrichment directors have a complex job that requires creativity, planning, scheduling, tracking, measuring, learning, and iterating. But there’s much more to life enrichment programs than logistics: the activities offered in senior living communities are an essential part of maintaining the physical, mental, and social wellness of residents.
This means keeping a life enrichment program on track can have a ripple effect, improving residents’ health, decreasing falls and other emergencies, and increasing satisfaction and referrals. So how can senior living communities ensure their life enrichment programs stay on track? Try these four strategies.
1. Give Life Enrichment Directors the Right Tools
A lot of work life enrichment directors do happens behind the scenes. If your community is not yet using a digital calendar management system to support that behind-the-scenes work, now is the time to reconsider.
Solutions like Calendar Central can reduce the time life enrichment directors spend on calendar management by 80 percent, which means they’ll have more time to research new activities, discover what’s working (and what’s not) at other communities, find instructors and activity leaders who offer what your community wants, and check in with the residents themselves to get their feedback on various activities.
Those are clear gains for a community. But providing the right tools and technology can also help prevent a major loss: turnover. Employees who don’t feel supported in their work are three times as likely to seek other work as those who do feel supported.
Empowering life enrichment directors to do their jobs better and more easily is an easy way to keep them happy – and keep them around longer.
2. Track Attendance, Engagement, and Enjoyment
Once you’ve got the tools to manage the logistics of life enrichment, it’s time to look at performance. It’s much easier to make future planning decisions when you’ve got tools that make it easy to track and visualize attendance and enjoyment.
Again, the right tools can help. With digital community engagement solutions, staff can easily track attendance and enrichment directors can use that data to plan future events. Some solutions also offer text-based analysis that lets community leaders track resident sentiment about various activities based on comments in surveys and in the engagement app itself.
The best software also offers an enterprise dashboard, so that executives can see performance across multiple communities and share insights about what’s working and what’s not to leaders at each community.
3. Empower Residents to Take Ownership of Events
One reason life enrichment is such an important part of senior living is that doing activities you enjoy with like-minded people is a great way to promote and improve social wellness.
While strong life enrichment programs offer a variety of activities for residents to participate in, the very best also make it possible for residents to plan and shape their own events. At one community, for example, a new resident and her husband loved watching NASCAR together. After he passed, she wanted to continue watching, but the community didn’t have a dedicated group to watch races.
So she made her own, with the help of Icon’s Community Engagement platform, which offers member directories and event sharing. In just a few months, the resident had built an enthusiastic community of NASCAR fans.
Offering residents an easy way to get the word out and invite their friends is an excellent way to drive ground-up participation in life enrichment.
4. Share Successes with Family to Boost Buy-in and Satisfaction
One important part of keeping life enrichment on track is communicating about your program’s success. But many communities overlook this part of the picture, focusing purely on what happens among community residents.
This is a huge missed opportunity! Communicating beyond your community’s walls can offer two major benefits:
- It keeps family members in the loop about how happy and engaged their loved ones are. This goes a long way toward building strong relationships and maintaining satisfaction. It can also translate to more word-of-mouth referrals.
- It broadcasts what you have to offer to potential residents. Too often, potential residents only start hearing about senior living communities when they proactively start the search for their next home. But 45 to 65 percent of baby boomers use social media, which means senior living communities who aren’t communicating about their excellent life enrichment programs on social are missing a prime opportunity to nurture brand affinity among potential residents.
Again, the right tools can make this easy. Family engagement communication tools should offer a streamlined, HIPAA-compliant way to share messages and images with family members. Social media is more complex, but recognizing its potential and experimenting with various platforms and messages can go a long way toward cultivating interest from future residents.
The Most Successful Life Enrichment Programs Create a Virtuous Cycle
Life enrichment programs make senior living residents happier, healthier, and more connected. That translates to better outcomes at nearly every level of the community. Icon’s product suite makes it possible to streamline calendar management, track attendance and sentiment, analyze performance, and communicate with loved ones. For more information on how, set up a demo!