Deb Tastic, Senior Living Extraordinaire
Last time we talked, I mentioned that touring several times at a community was a good idea to get a better overall vibe of the senior living property that you are considering for yourself or a loved one.
This week, let’s chat about the WHY. Why visit at various times during the week and during the day?The reality is that senior living communities staff a lot lighter on evenings and weekends. That’s because the evening is typically when residents are sleeping and communities aren’t running housekeeping/laundry services on the weekend. Additionally, administrative staff usually work a 9-to-5/Monday-through-Friday schedule. This leaves the nights and weekends short on ancillary personnel to be able to assist in emergencies, run activities and to have “extra hands on deck” for everyday, unplanned occurrences that happen at senior living communities. Without knowing this before moving in, a lot of people can be left jaded about their experience and believe that the night or weekend staff is “less qualified”. When in reality they are not, there are just less of them.
Shortly after I started running an assisted living community I had a resident (let’s call him Bob) move in. Bob was the typical “sale” – only taking one tour, depositing, and moving in. He never came back to get a better holistic perspective on the day-to-day flow of the assisted living. To be able to meet my residents needs during the night at the community, I had two team members scheduled.
We quickly learned that Bob was a night owl. He complained that he was bored and he suggested that we should run more acitivites later in the evening. Had Bob come in and toured in the evenings, it would have been clear that there is less activity and more calm that time of day. Even a question from Bob or his family would have prompted us to anticipate his need for evening activies and I would have been able to jump out in front with a solution before Bob started complaining about his boredom. We were eventually able to meet Bob’s needs by getting a few more activities programmed in the evening for him.
Sometimes, when a potential resident or family member tours during the times that senior living communities are robustly staffed, they assume that the community will have the same amount of staff during all hours of the day. This is why I suggest to tour in the evening and on a weekend before making a final decision. You most likely will notice a marked difference. The community will be calmer, quieter during the evening and typically full of daughters, sons, and grandchildren visiting on the weekends.
If it’s a community that you are seriously considering as your next home, a second and third experience is highly recommended for a better satisfied customer. And changing times of day and days of week will give you a much more accurate picture of what life will be like before you move-in. Happy Touring and Reality Checking!