If you’ve ever witnessed the first day of a school for a child, then you will recognize this scene. They walk through the door holding a comforting hand, into a new place they’ve been excited about. There are others there who are just like them having a great time! As soon as they put their belongings away that familiar person lets go of their hand and walks out the door leaving them in a new place, with people they aren’t familiar with.
The same thing can happen in senior living. A new resident builds a relationship with your salesperson who suddenly disappears when they move in. They look around at this new team of caregivers, but they don’t see a familiar face. Developing best practices for a transition from prospect to resident is worth the effort for retention, referrals and everyone’s peace of mind.
Start BEFORE they become a resident
Get your community’s caregivers involved at every step through the sales cycle – on tours, through assessments, home visits, during financial conversations. The more staffers the resident-to-be meets ahead of time, the more comfortable they’ll feel on moving day. When prospects have questions, have your team Facetime with them. Face-to-face, even over video, will help your new resident get more familiar with the staff from the very beginning.
Get your current residents involved
Residents are every community’s best referral source. If they’re happy, they’ll tell family and friends. A resident Ambassador’s program is designed to help the newbies feel more at home faster. People typically want to be social, and they want to connect with others. It can feel more inviting when they’re nudged by another resident to ‘come along’, and they are typically more apt to take them up on it. Peer to peer connections have proven to be successful.
Get your staff involved
Orientation by each department in your community teaches your staff that it’s everyone’s responsibility to help your new resident feel at home. Have your chef make their favorite dessert and drop it by. The community’s Activity Director can bring fun ideas to match the new resident’s interests. When your Executive Director does their next Town Hall, have them stop by beforehand to explain what it’s all about and hear what questions the new resident might have.
Get the new resident involved
An Open House is a fun way to have friends come by to see their new space. The community can help with invitations, provide wine and hors d’oeuvres and help turn it into something the new resident will feel proud to host and show off their new digs.
Training your entire team to make meaningful connections with prospects helps them do their job better and helps the new resident feel more at home faster. They may not remember every new name right away, but they will remember how every staff member made them feel. When done right it will reduce their anxiety and help them feel like they were meant to be part of your community all along.