Resident Experience

How to Increase Resident Engagement in your Senior Living Community

June 9, 2021

We know that activity directors work tirelessly to provide excellent resident experience within their communities. We also know that experiencing a drop in engagement can be incredibly frustrating and discouraging.

With ever-changing resident needs, it’s normal to see some fluctuation in engagement. But, staying on top of these changes will ensure that your programming is creating a positive impact and protecting your residents from the dangers of social isolation

Here are five tips to increase your resident engagement and sustain it long-term. 

  1. Get set up with the right tools

The first step to increasing engagement within your community is to create an environment where engagement can flourish. Ensuring that you and your staff have the right tools to do your jobs efficiently and effectively is key to creating this environment. 

Analyze your current processes and determine areas that need improvement. Oftentimes, administrative tasks take away activity professionals' time with residents resulting in frustration and low morale. Determining areas in which your recreation processes can improve is integral in increasing engagement rates in your community. Discover the six components of an excellent wellness program in this article to bridge the gaps in your community.

  1. Understand your residents’ needs

Understanding all factors that could deter or impede a resident from engaging in an activity is incredibly important. Often, resident information is tucked away in assessment binders and not easily accessible. Data regarding your residents' hobbies, interests, and mobility impairments might not be up to date or even recorded in the first place. This can result in an activity calendar that is unknowingly excluding certain residents.

Gathering the right information and having it easily accessible to your entire team is key to planning engaging activity calendars. It is also crucial to have updated assessment information at least once per year to capture residents changing needs.

  1. Foster opportunities for resident-led activities

Resident-led clubs can be a great way to encourage participation from residents who usually have low engagement. These clubs allow for more autonomy and are less structured than typical activities. They also allow you to take a backseat and focus on other activities or updating your administrative processes.

At your next resident council meeting propose ideas for special interest clubs, volunteer clubs, book clubs, and more. Encourage voting for club leaders to keep the clubs going and be your liaison to keep you informed. Make sure to invite residents with similar hobbies and interests which can easily be done with Welbi’s filterable resident list.   

  1. Ensure safety and wellbeing

COVID-19 has resulted in many residents being nervous about returning to group programs. Consider doing resident surveys to understand the risk tolerance of your community and create activities accordingly. From there, you can determine if you should plan more outdoor, socially distanced, or one-on-one activities for your community. 

Implementing a platform with a contact tracing feature is another way to keep residents safe in the event of an outbreak. They provide peace of mind because you are easily able to take quick action to identify, isolate, and contain an outbreak.

  1. Collect and analyze data

It is incredibly challenging to understand your community’s engagement rate if you aren't collecting accurate data. Using software programs to capture engagement rates for all of your programming will help you to understand if your efforts are paying off. It will also help you identify gaps in your programming. For example, one program might be doing extremely well and resulting in high engagement. From that information, you can start implementing similar programs to replicate that success. If a program is doing poorly, consider changing aspects of it or phasing it out.

Having this data at your fingertips will be instrumental in understanding your community, but also tracking your progress for upper management. Having the ability to show your impact in the community will improve the appreciation for your role and perhaps result in increased activity budgets. 

We hope these five  tips will help you increase engagement in your community. Welbi is here to support you and your community on your journey to increasing resident engagement. Book a demo today to learn how to implement these tips alongside streamlining your teams’ processes.

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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