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How Can Families Spot Excellence in a Senior Living Community?

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Our four-part series dedicated to sharing insight to help health care professionals feel more confident working with seniors who are searching for senior living continues today.

Over the past two weeks we’ve offered suggestions to help you educate older adults and their families. Our focus has been on helping families evaluate if a senior living provider is Accountable and Committed to delivering quality care.

Today’s topic is equally an important one: Excellence.

What do we mean by excellence in senior living? And how can a family identify it?

Excellence is when a senior living community has strong systems in place that allow daily operations to run smoothly and efficiently. When an organization can accomplish that, its associates have the ability to be truly present in the lives of residents. This translates to better care for the resident.

How Longevity Promotes Excellence in Senior Living

High employee satisfaction can be another sign of excellence in senior living.  When a provider has experience, they typically have good systems in place to support the caregiver’s work. And supported, healthy and happy caregivers are better able to provide a positive, nurturing environment for the residents.

Equally important, when team members have longevity with an organization, the residents and the associates get to know one another on a personal level.  This allows them to develop more meaningful bonds. These human connections improve the quality of life for both groups.

What information can you share with seniors and their families to make it easier for them to assess an organization’s commitment to excellence? We have some suggestions we hope will help.

Questions to Encourage Families to Ask Senior Living Providers

Let’s start with a few organizational questions families can ask to dig deeper in to a senior living community’s operations:

  • How long has the provider been in business?
  • How has the organization used its experience to improve operations?
  • Has the provider won any honors and awards? If so, which ones were received in the past year?
  • Is the community committed to having leadership on-site seven days a week? (Beyond just a token manager-on-duty a few hours each weekend?)
  • How is the leadership model of the community structured?

The human connection is vital to quality care. The following questions can help seniors and their families identify excellence among a community’s associates:

  • How does the organization recruit its associates?
  • What interview process do prospective associates undergo before hiring?
  • Does the organization have its own proprietary training program?  Is there an established onboarding program that all associates attend?
  • How does the organization nurture empathy and compassion among associates?
  • Do associates receive training to help them better understand common disease processes, such as dementia, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease?

By encouraging families to ask these questions, you help them look beyond the aesthetics of a senior living community to get to the heart of what is truly most important.

Dedication is Our Final Topic in this Series

We hope these first three articles have helped you feel more confident in the information and advice you offer to families. Next week is the final installment of our series.

We hope you will stop back to learn more about Dedication. We’ll share how a senior living provider’s dedication to its associates translates to better resident care.

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Jayne Sallerson is a warm, enthusiastic and compassionate executive with a heart for working with seniors. Jayne has been in senior care for more than 20 years and she says, “I still love what I do.” At Benchmark Senior Living, Jayne now serves as Executive Vice President. A native of New England, Jayne loves to travel, meet new people, and hang out with her favorite pug, Henry.
Jayne started this blog as a way to share the many questions she and her team get every day with other people looking for answers.