Senior Care

How to Quickly and Easily Increase Resident Engagement

Freddie Peyerl
Post by
Freddie Peyerl

The importance of resident engagement in senior living communities cannot be overemphasized. Engaged residents tend to have improved mental and physical health as compared to their peers who refrain from participating in activities or interacting with fellow residents.

 

However, activity planning is often difficult from a logistical perspective. Activity directors may feel pressure to come up with new innovative ways to boost resident engagement, not to mention having to communicate with residents and families about upcoming events and important calendar dates.

 

Developing new events will always require creativity and thoughtful planning. However, leveraging senior living software to help with communication and organization can help activity directors focus the majority of their energy where it’s needed: on making sure residents are engaged and happy. New, thoughtfully designed technology is one of the best ways to boost senior living resident engagement, as we will see in the following article.

Senior Living Activity Planning

 

Having to balance the backgrounds, interests, physical limitations and personalities of senior residents makes for a difficult job when it comes to activity planning. When activity directors find an event or activity that is well-liked by residents, it’s important that they recognize why this particular activity was effective for resident engagement and integrate those principles into future activities.

 

It should be said, however, that activity directors’ time should not be spent on attempting to reinvent the wheel. Once they’ve implemented a successful activity, said event can become a regular part of the residents’ routine. As we’ll see in the next section, using the best available technology to highlight these events on resident calendars makes the process incredibly easy.

Creating Calendars

 

Well-designed senior living software can make creating a calendar for residents and families a breeze. Through the use of apps and other technology, activity directors can plan, modify, and alert interested parties about upcoming events. These notifications can be sent through TVs, computers ,tablets, phones, and other smart devices. Additionally, for residents and families who prefer the good old-fashioned way of taking in information, effective senior living software makes it easy to print out schedules and calendars.

 

The process of creating these calendars needs to be easy. As was stated earlier, activity directors are incredibly busy. Therefore, they shouldn’t have to waste time trying to navigate complicated apps and software that ends up taking more time than it saves. The ability to repeat successful events by simply copying and pasting the activity to a later date is crucial for the success of a senior living app. Old activities should be able to be stored in a bank of previous activities so that they can be modified and pasted onto a future date. Additionally, creating new events with descriptions and promotional materials to get residents and families excited should be simple to design as well.

Communicating with Residents, Families, and Staff

 

There are many people who need to be made aware of upcoming events and activities.

  1. Residents need to be notified so that they can decide if they are interested in participating or not. Arguably the most important piece of the puzzle is the residents’ participation in these activities. If there is no interest from residents, there is no reason to hold the event.
  2. Families need to be notified so that they can spend time with their loved ones during a family activity, if they would like. Families often have busy schedules and may have a tough time making it to their loved ones’ events. However, if they are given enough warning and provided with regular reminders, they can keep their schedule open on the day of the activity in question.
  3. Staff members need to be notified in order to set up the activities, be prepared for where residents will be during the time of the event, etc. Staff members are the ones who ultimately need to make sure everything is prepared for the activity when the time comes. Rooms need to be prepared, materials for the activity need to be laid out, and the event itself must have staff there to ensure that it runs smoothly.

 

Effective senior living software can make delivering these notifications extremely straightforward. Apps and programs can send notifications at regular intervals to remind all parties of upcoming activities. Further, this software should enable easy printing of flyers and reminders about activities, for those that may have forgotten about the events.

Senior Living Software Must-Haves

 

A few elements of effective senior living software with regards to event and activity calendars include:

  • Real-Time Changes. Things can change quickly in a senior living facility. Medical emergencies, last minute activity changes, and issues with rooms that were originally planned for an activity can all develop in seconds. For this reason, it’s important that senior living software and calendar services have the ability to quickly communicate any changes to all interested parties. Families, residents, and staff should all be able to be reached immediately should a sudden change affect plans pertaining to an activity.
  • Visually Pleasing Printing Options. As was stated earlier in this article, some residents shy away from the use of technology for one reason or another. For these folks, it’s important to have printed versions of activity calendars. But the print-outs shouldn’t just be run-of-the-mill pages that inspire no excitement. Good senior living software enables activity directors to quickly and easily mock up fun, seasonal designs on these printed materials, creating buzz for upcoming events. Additionally, these flyers and printed materials can be posted throughout the senior living community so that residents can be frequently reminded of said activities.
  • Easy to Use. For residents that do use the technology provided, complicated apps that require deep knowledge of mobile devices, computers, etc. must be avoided. Senior living software should contain one-touch options for RSVP’ing to events, changing attendance status or asking common questions. 

Conclusion

 

There’s no doubt about it: activity directors in senior living facilities have a difficult job. Planning, organizing, and adjusting activities requires constant attention, but the importance of hosting effective engagement opportunities cannot be understated.

 

For this reason, it is essential to have senior living software that makes their job easier, while also allowing easy multi-directional communication between residents, family, and senior living facility staff.