Senior Living Engagement Programs: A Closer Look at Staff Interaction


question-symbol How can I be sure that staff members will treat my loved one with dignity and respect?

Why it matters: Watching staff members interact with residents is an excellent way to evaluate the integrity of a senior living community and its programs. This is something you can only see in person—and it will have a huge influence on your loved one’s happiness in senior living.

It’s important to consider whether staff members will get to know your loved one on a personal level. It is extremely important for associates to 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 view actively spending quality time together as an opportunity. 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.


Caring with Dignity

caringAs persons living with dementia enter the later stages of the disease, assistance with dining is often needed.  The 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 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. 

Stay tuned for more tips and insights at Open Conversations
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Content for Open Conversations was developed in partnership with Caregiving Advice.

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