Advice Assisted Living

Senior Living Engagement Programs: A Closer Look at Associate Interaction

Senior woman staring through magnifying glass

When choosing an assisted living facility, it’s critical that you feel confident your loved one will be treated with dignity and respect in their new home. 

Keeping an eye out on how staff members interact with residents — and paying extra attention, as well as making special requests during a virtual tour, is an excellent way to evaluate the integrity of a senior living community and its programs. This is something you can see by asking innumerable questions and interviewing other residents and their loved ones — and it will have a huge influence on your loved one’s happiness in senior living.

Personalized Interactions

It’s important to consider whether staff members will get to know your loved one on a personal level. Associates should dig deep and seek to understand the character, personality, background and interests of each resident. The best communities will do just that.

“Associates in a successful community are in sync with the residents they care for and engage with; they follow the Residents lead, strive to be one step ahead and raise the bar,” says Noeline Cranston, Benchmark’s regional director of operations. “It’s about connecting to what matters most at every stage of life.

Making Connections

Connection is something to look for the moment you arrive for a community tour. Does the tour guide introduce you to residents by name, and even tell you something special about them? Such simple gestures instill confidence that associates know and deeply care for residents. 

Rather than simply assisting with daily routines, associates should view spending quality time together as an opportunity to build a stronger bond. Whether discussing clothing and accessory choices or sharing a meal together, they’re taking time to connect.

Additionally, inquire if the community has aides and volunteers who will be available for one-on-one time to foster connections with your loved one.

Woman and group of seniors talking in circle

Caring with Dignity

Woman and senior woman holding hands

As residents living with dementia enter the later stages of the disease, assistance with dining is often needed. A successful community will find a balance between providing necessary dining assistance to maintain nutrition and hydration while simultaneously honoring dignity. 

For example, associates will often drink a coffee or have a snack along with the person with dementia they are assisting. They will also provide choices of food and drink, reminisce and add humor during the meal as appropriate. In this way, it is a familiar and dignified connection between the associate and the person living with dementia. 

Finding the right community starts with finding the right people

Ultimately, the people and caregivers your loved one interacts with have the potential to make or break their senior living experience. In your search for the right facility, it pays to ensure that your top choice is committed to fostering deep, rewarding relationships with residents on a personal level. Not only does this increase the likelihood that their needs will always be met, but it also provides peace of mind that your loved one will be treated with dignity and respect.

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