There’s a reason you work in senior living. Senior living staff help residents pursue their passions, connect with their neighbors, and share their community with friends and family. These little moments help a community thrive and prevent staff burnout.
Executive directors and senior living leadership know that part of their job is increasing these little moments of satisfaction for their staff and residents. The last two years haven’t made it easy.
An OnShift survey from December 2021 revealed that 80% of senior housing workers believe there is a critical level of burnout in the profession. Another 80% said staffing issues are one of their biggest challenges.
As a community leader, you’re faced with the difficult task of keeping staff happy, engaged, and refreshed in their roles. Staff morale affects resident morale. It also directly affects your community’s bottom line: 35% of senior living workers say their communities have had to limit new admissions or move-ins as a result of staff turnover.
You shouldn’t have to handle staff burnout alone! That’s why we’ve put together some tips on how to deal with employee stress and fatigue in your senior living community.
We’ve organized our tips by role. This should help you tailor your approach to each member of your staff – but don’t be afraid to deploy these strategies across departments. Our tips reflect this “all-hands-on-deck” approach, with an emphasis on technology, inclusion, and accessibility:
Caregivers/Aide Professionals: Emphasize consistent feedback and self-care
Your caregiving staff is the “boots on the ground” of your community. They’re the most connected to residents because they work with them on a daily basis. Because of this proximity and intimacy, aides and caregivers are often most prone to burnout.
Executive directors can take an example from Brightview Senior Living, a collection of communities in the Northeast. Leaders at Brightview signaled a culture shift to respond to frontline worker burnout.
The communities began optional staff meetings to hear questions and concerns from their staff. They hired wellness professionals to deliver workshops and provide one-on-one counseling opportunities. Above all, they embraced a simple message: “it’s OK not to be OK.” Brightview empowered employees to focus on well-being and gave them a forum for feedback.
Memory & Hearing Loss Specialists: Make purposeful technology work in tandem with human expertise
Working with residents battling memory and hearing loss can sometimes be frustrating or disheartening – especially if there’s a perceived lack of progress in treatment. Technology can’t replace the expertise of memory and hearing loss professionals. A purposeful use of technology, however, can make life easier for these specialists.
Bridges by Epoch, which operates 11 communities in the Northeast, provides another example to follow. Bridges works with many residents living with dementia. The communities offer sessions known as “Memory Care Cafes,” which include interactive programs that remotely connect residents with their caregivers. Bridges uses the Eversound wireless listening system to increase engagement, especially amongst residents experiencing hearing loss. They combined this technology with the iN2L touch screen engagement system, which provides tablets for video calls.
These relatively small investments helped Bridges maximize impact and reduce stress for their specialists.
Sales/Marketing Directors: Invest in brand-building efforts
Most sales and marketing directors are focused on increasing occupancy rates and tour conversions. Chasing goals and quotas – especially in a difficult market – will likely lead to quicker burnout
Make life easier for your sales and marketing teams by building a strong foundation: your community brand. 60% of people searching for a senior living community don’t know their local options before beginning a search.
Consider steps like building a brand ambassador committee, getting active on your social media channels, and encouraging residents to give Yelp and Google Reviews. Building brand awareness means your staff won’t have to work as hard for every move-in.
Activity Directors: Tap into available resources to fill the activity calendar
Filling an activity calendar is challenging work. Activity directors have to juggle resident preferences with the schedules of guest speakers and performers. Maintaining variety and engagement can be difficult, especially if outside factors like social distancing or weather require a change of plans.
ADs can also free Facebook groups to get inspiration from their peers. There are also more formal groups, such as the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals (NCCAP)
Communities that purchase an Eversound listening system also receive free access to the Eversound member portal, which includes hundreds of activity packets, guided programs, templates, music playlists, and more. Busy activity directors won’t have to plan their entire calendar on their own.
All Staff: Put Eversound to work in your daily routines
There isn’t one single solution to staff burnout. Executive directors can make a difference with a series of smaller actions – and a commitment to giving their staff the tools they need to succeed.
Eversound, the advanced listening system built for senior living communities, is a great example of affordable technology that makes life easier for staff. Our system connects up to 120 wireless headphones at distances up to 300 feet – without the use of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth – and makes a welcome addition to activity time, prospect tours, and hearing loss/memory care workshops.
Staff turnover is costly but Eversound is not. One month’s rent from a net new rental pays for an entire year of an Eversound membership.
Get in touch to find out how you can use Eversound to empower a healthy, connected team at your senior living community.