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improve the resident experience | a senior care worker attends to an elderly woman

Improving the Resident Experience Through Personalized Care

We live in a world that values the personalized experience above all. From your Amazon shopping homepage to your smartwatch, the experience is deeply personal. You are greeted by your name, offered things based on past behaviors and in turn, you expect things to be adapted to your needs and preferences in real-time. But what about the senior care industry?

Prioritizing this type of personalized experience doesn’t yet seem to be top of mind, but has the potential to increase occupancy by providing an amazing resident experience. Whether a person moves from their home to a facility due to chronic illness, a need for additional support with activities of daily living, or by their own choice, it is the job of senior living providers to ensure that their experience is fulfilling.

A VIP treatment for every older adult means making a more hospitality-oriented mindset a priority every day, no matter a person’s current needs and preferences. Engagement should always be personalized and match the resident’s abilities. A personalized experience beyond the typical bingo, birthdays, and reading should be the goal.

Providers can look to hospitality leaders like hotels and restaurants as a guide for how to offer the best care:

1. Empathy is Key
There’s a special feeling a customer gets when the concierge at a hotel or a general manager at a favorite restaurant anticipates their needs. As a regular at that establishment, the staff will have come to know the guest’s habits, allergies, and/or preferences, using their intimate knowledge to empathize with that person. By providing senior living staff with this type of information, employees can better empathize with residents, and build more meaningful relationships that drive satisfaction.

2. Be an Active Listener
Few gifts are as meaningful as the gift of attention. Why is traveling for leisure such a thrill? Why do we count down the days until our next meal at our favorite restaurant? Because the customer knows that from the time they walk in the door until their visit is complete, the staff will be listening carefully to their every request to ensure that the experience will be the best it can be. Train your community staff to listen intently to your residents so they’re better able to address their needs, deliver on preferences, and identify any potential issues or poor experiences before they happen.

3. Acknowledge a Customer’s Value
True hospitality means meeting the needs of every customer and then going one step further to create a truly delightful experience. When a customer receives precisely what they want plus a thoughtful gift or service that is tailored to them, they walk away knowing they’re valued. Relocating to a senior living community can be an adjustment for some residents. Ensuring they feel valued and welcomed increases satisfaction and helps stave off mental health issues like depression.

Although these three examples are taken from the hospitality industry, the parallels to the senior living industry are clear. A personalized experience in a senior care community means a resident should expect empathy, attention, and services that go above and beyond their needs and preferences to show they’re valued as a person.

To learn more about delivering experiences that make a difference in the lives of your residents, read our post 4 Ways to Help Seniors Live a Joyful and Purposeful Life Each Day.

June 20, 2018