Resident Experience

3 Steps to Improving Your Resident Experience

July 22, 2021

How do you quantify a thing like wellness? Can a value be put on human experiences like happiness and fulfillment? These are some of the questions you must answer when you’re looking to improve resident experience in your senior living communities. 

In a business based around people and the emotional choices of families, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to setting goals to improve your operations. After all, there’s no unit of measurement that can quickly tell you how enriching an experience is. Wellness is subjective, but you need objective data to make informed decisions and lead your community to success.

So how can you implement a strategic plan to improve resident experience in your communities? Here are 3 concrete steps to take.

  1. Define your key terms

Breaking down objectives into manageable steps is crucial for any kind of goal setting. Defining your key terms will help you understand just what it is you’re trying to achieve and the steps you need to take to get there. So, let’s start by breaking down ‘wellness’ — what is it, and what does it encompass? Fortunately, industry leaders have already done this kind of thinking. The International Council on Active Aging adapted the seven dimensions of wellness, a well-known holistic framework, for use within senior living communities. With this knowledge, you can plan to target these seven dimensions in your programming to improve your resident experience. 

Ensure your recreation staff are designing their programming with activities and offerings that address each of these human needs. Discover how to implement this framework in your communities’ wellness program by reading The Seven Dimensions of Wellness and How to Apply Them to Your Senior Living Programming.

Offering diverse and comprehensive programming is a good start, but the one-size-fits-all approach isn’t enough in today’s competitive market. Offering personalized programming will give your community a competitive edge. Break the dimensions of wellness down even further by applying them to the individual residents in your communities. Ask yourself how the dimensions of wellness relate to their needs, hobbies, and goals. Build resident profiles to capture this information and ensure recreation staff always have it at hand so they can build engaging, personalized programs. 

  1. Collect and analyze data

Once you’ve defined the key terms of your resident experience offerings, your next step is to collect and analyze data to determine if your efforts are paying off. 

One of the challenges faced by operational managers in senior living is that it can be difficult to view resident experiences through the lens of performance metrics, especially when you’re not there to see initiatives in action. However, your recreation staff interacts with residents on a daily basis, and each of these interactions is an opportunity to generate meaningful insights. And thanks to smart tools, your team doesn’t need to rely on resident satisfaction surveys to collect this data. 

Equipping your staff with a recreational platform like Welbi gives you the ability to forecast and be strategic using the data they collect. In addition to making daily tasks more efficient, smart tools allow staff to track the dimensions of wellness and ensure their program covers them all. More than that, they can easily record resident attendance and engagement which will help you measure the success of your programs. Once you understand which of your programs work and which ones need tweaking, you can move on to the next step and begin fine-tuning your offering.

  1. Implement your learnings

Now that you’ve collected and analyzed your data, it’s time to implement your learnings so you can offer a continuously improving resident experience. Execute your action plan and adjust your program offerings based on what you’ve learned.

Sometimes, offering exceptional resident experiences means increasing the recreation budget. But when you have the data to back up your decisions, you can ensure all your investments are strategic. Focus on your successes by introducing activities that have a high probability of increasing overall attendance rates and phasing out the programs that don’t pay off. You can also be proactive about strategizing for residents with low levels of engagement. Assess their needs to determine which activities to offer that will resonate with them. Residents with high engagement are happier and healthier, which boosts their average length of stay and your overall revenue.

In fact, investing in your life enrichment program drives business success in a number of ways. In addition to driving length of stay and occupancy, a well-managed life enrichment program boosts competitive positioning, generates added revenue, reduces costs, and increases employee retention. You can rest assured that your residents are getting the best experience you can provide and that your efforts are helping your bottom line. With the added revenue generated, you can reinvest into delivering even more complex offerings for an exceptional resident experience.

Strive for continuous improvement in your communities by comparing attendance, engagement levels, and satisfaction scores to your past assessments and national benchmarks. Then it’s time to repeat the process by collecting and analyzing data again and implementing new learnings.


When it comes to improving your resident experience, the more objective data you can rely on, the better. With Welbi, you can easily gather and interpret this data so you can increase resident satisfaction while keeping your business profitable and successful.

Book a demo to see how you can plan, implement, and measure your life enrichment programs with ease with Welbi. To learn more about how to analyze the value of your wellness program and tie program success to positive business outcomes, download our free eBook The Business of Wellness for Senior Communities.

Katie Stewart

Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.

Holly Mathias

Holly is a member of Welbi’s Marketing team! She has a background in communications and marketing, and is a compassionate individual who loves team work, story telling, and wellness.

Wendy Riopelle

Wendy is a student in the Honours BA in English program at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.

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