“Bring in new residents.” These four words are the main focus of many sales/marketing leaders in senior living communities. It makes sense. Rent from residents provides the revenue to keep each community operating. Each new resident fills a vacancy, driving up the all-important occupancy rate. Not everyone likes to focus on the other side of the equation: move-outs. The average resident leaves their community after 22 months, according to data from Consumer Affairs. Some circumstances are out of a community’s control, like a resident passing away or needing an escalated level of care that your community does not provide. Nonetheless, sales directors have to replace each new resident less than two years after welcoming them to the community. That’s a lot of work for a relatively short stay.
Residents might leave because they’re experiencing isolation or loneliness. Perhaps they don’t feel connected to the staff or residents, or they don’t think the community delivered on promises made to them. For staff, focusing on delivering an excellent experience for current residents means you won’t need to find as many new ones.
Sales and marketing professionals need to continue growing their communities to rebound from move-outs caused by the pandemic. Move outs are on the rise, but are still 6.4 percentage points below pre-pandemic levels. We’ve outlined ten tips for staff to reduce their move outs and keep residents – and revenue – within their community:
1.) Develop comprehensive welcoming programs
The best way to retain residents is to provide them an outstanding experience from the start.
Many residents moving into a new community will experience “transfer trauma”: extra stress and anxiety related to their change of scenery. New residents might have just lost a partner, or recently moved away from their homes and communities where they had relied on established relationships.
Take the first few weeks and months of a new stay to educate and ingratiate new residents to everything your community has to offer. Resident ambassadors (existing residents who are outgoing and can vouch for the community) are a great resource.
2.) Prioritize inclusion & accessibility
Inclusion and accessibility should be at the core of your community’s philosophy. You want every resident to feel like they belong to the community, and have the necessary resources to pursue their passions. For example: encourage a resident that’s skilled at painting to lead a painting tutorial activity for others. Or, provide access to lifelong learning programs that allow residents to acquire new skills and interests.
3.) Don’t let hearing loss be a “silent epidemic”
Residents experiencing hearing loss might have a difficult time feeling like a true part of your community. Untreated hearing loss can lead to an increased risk of falls, isolation, loneliness, and a 21% increased likelihood of death. It’s a problem that needs to be taken seriously within your community.
4.) Invest in purposeful technology
Technology use shows that your community is forward-thinking and embraces opportunities to connect your residents with each other, and with their loved ones.
Bridges by Epoch, a senior living facility in the Northeast, provides a great example of injecting purposeful technology. The community used Eversound listening systems and iN2L touch screen engagement solutions to provide virtual support to residents living with dementia. IN2L also provides tablets to keep residents connected to family via video call. Remember: tech should enable inclusion and accessibility, especially for residents experiencing memory and hearing loss.
5.) Educate residents on how your technology enriches their experience
What’s the point of technology if residents and staff don’t use it? Before integrating any new tech, be sure to provide proper training to staff members so they can use it to its full advantage. Have staff model and showcase the use of your technology tools before having residents dive in.
6.) Embrace discussion boards/groups for resident feedback
Don’t watch a resident move out because a concern or issue went unaddressed. Let residents gather weekly or monthly to give feedback to staff and directors. To make these discussions more inclusive and accessible, offer an online discussion board version for residents that might not be comfortable, or able to, speak up in a group setting. The Eversound listening system can be an effective tool during resident council meetings to increase accessibility and participation.
7.) Commit to alignment across staff departments
Communities with alignment across departments are more agile and able to respond to residents’ questions and concerns. Keep open lines of communication between sales and marketing directors, activity directors, medical staff, finance teams, etc. For example, sales directors should work with activity directors to schedule prospect tours during engagement time – when your community is its most social and lively.
8.) Vary your activity programming
Engagement and activity have tangible and intangible benefits for senior residents. Social engagement is proven to promote brain health in older adults. What’s more, residents that can pursue their passions, particularly in a group setting, will feel like a part of your community. Be sure to leverage the experience of your residents so they are leading some of your programming. This gives residents the chance to showcase talents and channel their passions, with the added benefit of filling your activity calendar. Speaking of, Eversound’s member portal provides programs across various categories – educational, guided crafts, games, etc – to bring variety to your activity calendar.
9.) Provide flexibility for how residents engage in activities
In addition to customizing activity content, consider how your community can personalize activity consumption. Consider things like:
- Some residents may prefer to do a workout class from their room, dialing into a workout class from a tablet instead of journeying to the gym in a group setting.
- A TV buff might enjoy a Smart TV with Netflix in their room over movie time with their neighbors.
- Residents experiencing hearing loss may require a special listening system like Eversound to hear a movie from the back row.
- The same Eversound headphones allow residents to stay engaged and connected with an activity while they walk around, socialize, or handle other tasks.
- In-room activity bundles can engage residents when they prefer to stay in-room.
Overall, try to offer different ways to consume activities based on resident preferences and restrictions.
10.) Bring Eversound into your community
Eversound is the advanced listening system that communities across the country are using to increase accessibility, inclusion, and engagement in their communities. Our product connects up to 120 wireless headphones at distances up to 300 feet, representing a purposeful technology system to help combat avoidable move outs in your community.
Don’t worry if budgets are tight! One month’s rent from a net new rental (or from a resident that elects to stay in your community) pays for an entire year of an Eversound membership.
Get in touch to learn how Eversound can help residents thrive as a part of your community.