While retirement communities vary in size, atmosphere and amenities, many of the challenges faced by retirement community managers are the same. Engaging residents in physical activities, building a sense of belonging in the community and retaining talented caregivers are the three of the top issues faced today.
Technology can be used to mitigate and even overcome these challenges. Comprehensive community management systems enhance communication, create a sense of belonging and ownership within communities, and even reduce caregiver churn; here’s how.
Engaging residents in physical activities
Physical and mental health are supported by exercise and movement. Retirement community managers often grapple with effective ways to engage residents in physical activities that are both enjoyable and accessible to the majority of residents.
Community management systems that include calendar coordination functions, survey capabilities, access to notifications about upcoming events and the ability to post messages on bulletin boards with a few clicks can be used to get residents moving more. Plus they save time.
It helps to survey community members on a regular basis, this will let you to discover where their interests lie. Armed with this knowledge you’ll be able to schedule indoor and outdoor activities residents will enjoy. The ability to coordinate calendars means activities can be harmonized and fitness related events can be offered daily. Notification functions such as resident’s portals, email and buletin boards should all be utilised so residents are not only made aware of the activities, but reminded too.
Further encouragement can be provided by updating community library documentation with the latest research on the benefits of movement for cognitive and physical health which residents can access at their leisure.
Creating a feeling of belonging
While many seniors join retirement communities to avoid becoming isolated and lonely, it can be difficult for new community members to feel a part of things. It takes a while to settle into new surroundings and situations. Retirement community management teams can build a sense of belonging faster by introducing new members to neighbours and matching them with others in the community who hold simillar interests.
We naturally build a sense of belonging with our community through shared interests, experiences and values. Keeping the feeling of belonging and ownership alive can be done by ensuring group activities are offered daily. Rather than leaving all the choosing and arranging of activities to managers, residents should be involved so a sense of ownership can be developed.
Distributing suggestions through the community management survey module lets residents vote on preferred activities. Alternatively, residents could be scheduled for an evening get together each month to socailise and chat about the group activities for the following month.
Many over-55’s join retirement communities to retain their freedom while gaining the benefit of great facilities, new opportunities for making new friends and feeling more secure than living alone. A sense of belonging is core to this.
Retaining talented staff members
Poor communication, lack of training and lack of recognition are some of the top reasons caregivers give for leaving their roles. Taking care of caregivers is the flip side of the retirement community manager’s role. Fortunately, a robust community management system isn’t just about residents, it helps managers take care of staff and contractors too.
Communication tools that enable messages to and from staff to be kept track of, along with family and resident requests are key to staying on top of things and ensuring caregivers needs can be met. Great work should be recognised too. BuildingLink’s community management system allows tallented workers to be publicly recognised with thank you messages on bulletin boards – or even special events arranged to show appreciation for their hard work.
Training for caregivers is essential – advances in technology are changing their roles quickly. Scheduling functions in a community management system can be used to alert management teams when it’s time for staff training to be updated and assist with scheduling time for caregivers to develop professionally.
BuildingLink’s community management software supports retirement community managers with both sides of their role – supporting the development of a supportive and enjoyable community for residents along with creating a great place to work for caregivers.