01 Feb 2018

Personalized care is the hot new trend in healthcare these days. But it’s not just the tailor-made care plans for an individual’s specific needs that make it popular. It’s also that the system empowers individuals to make the decisions about his or her health choices.

As you know, the idea of independence is important for a senior’s mental and emotional state. When moving to a senior living community, future residents are likely to feel a sense of loss when it comes to being able to “adapt” their situation. After all, they’re stepping into a pre-established community with rules and traditions already in place, and they may feel they just have to go with the flow.

Personalized care is the hot new trend in healthcare these days. But it’s not just the tailor-made care plans for an individual’s specific needs that make it popular. It’s also that the system empowers individuals to make the decisions about his or her health choices.

As you know, the idea of independence is important for a senior’s mental and emotional state. When moving to a senior living community, future residents are likely to feel a sense of loss when it comes to being able to “adapt” their situation. After all, they’re stepping into a pre-established community with rules and traditions already in place, and they may feel they just have to go with the flow.

But by adapting the community to them (instead of the other way around), you can provide your residents with a sense of independence and purpose to help energize and excite them. Here are some ideas on how to do that in your community.

Ask residents’ opinions. Get them involved! Your current residents are intelligent individuals who probably have some great ideas about how to improve the community. Assemble a resident group to listen to their peers and meet with them on a regular basis. And then make up an action plan to implement their suggestions for improvement. Find ways to say, “yes” instead of “no.”

Act, don’t react. Don’t wait around for your residents to come to you before you make changes to your community. Be proactive. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the newest trends in senior living (and in society) and see how you can jump on those opportunities to improve the care in your community. Even something as small as providing new organic or gluten-free options in the dining room can make a big difference.

Keep up-to-date with technology. New residents are coming from a world where they’re able to get the best, most up-to-date gadgets right away. As much as you can, make sure your community is prepared to keep up with this need. Set up Skype stations so they can easily chat with grandkids, or make sure there’s a strong Wi-Fi signal in all common areas (and throughout the entire community, if possible!). Offer computer training classes as part of your activities program.

Hire, train and model the right attitude. Surround yourself with people who have a “can do” approach, and watch as that attitude rubs off on everyone. Encourage your staff to always be on the lookout for ways to improve the lives of residents–big or little and empower them to do so. It might be something as simple as buying fresh flowers for the dining room.

Obviously, the mental and emotional wellbeing of your residents is just as important as keeping them physically healthy. Personalizing and adapting your community to your residents will help keep them happy, healthy and engaged–and, ultimately, make your community a place many other future residents will want to live.

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