3 Powerful Things Community Managers Can Do for Their Senior Residents

My wife and I are a community manager couple and truly enjoy the work we do to make our community a wonderful place to live. Together we do all we can to make this a warm and loving home for our residents and it's easy to do because it's our home too. Here are 3 things we do with purpose to make our community feel like home.

THE SMILE. We each make time everyday to get away from our computers and get out into the community to be with our residents. It was so important for us to learn their names so that we can call them by name every time we see them. In that interaction, we try and find something that they care most about and ask them about it, whether it's their grandchildren, a new grandbaby, their pet or a recent checkup at the hospital.

One thing we never forgot to do in that interaction before Covid-19 is to smile. It's the one thing that can make all the difference in human interaction. It's a gift that we can give another person that doesn't cost a thing and it's easy to generate. We know that when we see someone smile at us, it makes us feel good, getting a genuine feeling that that other person truly cares for us. So we use the simple smile all the time in our interactions.

Over the last year, Covid-19 has certainly affected our ability to use our smile to connect with our seniors. You can't see a smile through a face mask, so how do you smile when they can't see your mouth? It requires learning to smile more with your eyes, with a wave or a few encouraging words as you pass by them. And doing so effectively means speaking up so they can hear you through the face covering.

SHOW THEM WE CARE. In addition to a smile, there are so many other things that we have incorporated into our days here at the community. For example, when a resident returns from a doctor appointment or shopping and we are near the front entrance, we call out, "Welcome Home!" to them to help them feel welcome. One day we had a resident return from an extended stay at a rehabilitation facility. We asked his wife to let us know exactly when he was returning and on that day, we had the front entrance filled with staff and other residents, along with a huge banner we made that read WELCOME HOME.

ASK ABOUT THEIR PETS. Many of our residents have either a cat or a dog and that pet is their
companion and best friend. Some even refer to them as their "furry children." So we're always sure to ask them about their buddy and listen intently as they describe their pet's latest trick or stunt. At the front desk we keep a plastic container of dog treats to offer the residents as they come in from an outside walk. But we always ask for permission first before offering out of respect, as some residents work hard at keeping their best friend on a healthy eating plan.


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