How To's and Tips, Senior Living, Workforce Engagement

Patient Care vs. Person-Centered Care

Person-centered Care

Although patient centered care and person centered care both have a resident's best interests in mind, they do have some differences that set them apart. In this week's post, we'll be looking at the differences between patient-centered care and person-centered care including what each means, and some of their key distinctions.

Defining Differences

Each of these avenues of care is important in its own right, but it’s important to note their differences. With patient-centered care, an individual’s overall physical health and health needs are at the forefront of any care they receive, but this is really only half of the equation. Person-centered care is based on the accumulated knowledge of people including both their personal and medical histories. We’re seeing a pull in the direction of person-centered care as an opportunity to view the seniors in our care more holistically, applying personal knowledge of each individual to the care they receive.

Longevity of Care

One of the most prominent factors in distinguishing these methods of care is its longevity. Treatment that centers more around a person’s symptoms and diagnoses can be intermittent or be short-term. Seeing people as patients can depersonalize them in order to maximize efficiency: find out what’s wrong, fix it, move on to the next. The reason the senior living space is pushing for more individualized care is to factor the actual person back into caregiving.

Personalized care often takes longer than patient-centered care, yes, but there are merits in establishing a relationship with our seniors. This allows caregivers to tie together someone’s physical health with their mental health, social health, and history: “A major failure of primary care... is the great underestimation of the importance of long-term relationships with patients.” (Starfield, 2011)

Additionally, care specific to each individual offers insights into the overall well-being of someone in your community. Taking into consideration all aspects of a person is crucial; this means their personal history and health as well as a general understanding of who they are. This is especially important as older adults sometimes have to maneuver from one health problem to another. A cumulative view of a senior’s health, rather than a snapshot, is much more effective at offering the attention they need.

Restoring Relationships

Individual, long-term care is commonly praised for its impacts on both seniors and staff. While patient-centered care can offer an environment for relationship building, it’s more likely that a stronger connection would develop between residents and caregivers that offer individual attention: “Patient-centered care also aims to improve clinical practice by building caring relationships that bridge demographic, social, and economic differences between clinicians and patients” (Epstein, 2010).

Not only is building relationships with your residents beneficial for their overall health, connecting staff with them helps to reduce staff turnover. There’s a positive feedback loop between person-centered care and the prosperity of a given community: look at residents holistically to offer better care, build stronger relationships between staff and seniors, have caregivers stay in their communities longer.

There are a lot of buzzwords and trends surfacing in the senior living space, but the reason we have to keep this conversation active is so we can continue to push for higher standards, better care, and happier people; staff, seniors, and families alike. Keeping up with our resident’s health is imperative, but seeing the whole person can help have positive impacts on the care that they receive.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through our blog posts and for your support! Stay tuned for some of our next blog posts on how to implement more person-centered care in your communities. What are your thoughts on patient and person-centered care? Let us know on LinkedinFacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

 

How To's and Tips, Senior Living

Your Community's First Impression

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Much like with people, your community’s first impression is crucial to bringing in new residents as well as helping to retain the seniors already in your care. There are quite a few aspects of your community that contribute to what prospects think of your space from small things like a friendly face upon entering, to what amenities your community can offer. In this week’s blog post, we’ll be looking at what factors of your community affect first impressions.

Snap Judgement
We’ve all heard the statistics that that, on average, people begin to make judgments during first encounters in the first 7 seconds, and your community isn’t much different. Even if you’ve walked into your community hundreds of times, try walking in with a critical eye occasionally. Tours definitely help with this, but after a while of doing something, we can all become a bit jaded, especially with busy schedules.

Take a good look at the face of your community including landscape maintenance, paint, sidewalk and parking lot conditions, and it’s overall cleanliness. The first face new prospects see is also something to consider. Can they give whoever walked through the door undivided attention? No matter who the staff member is, everyone in your community can implement these practices.

Impressionable senses
A first impression isn’t always about what someone sees; the other four senses can give them clues as to how to interpret your community. The benefits of potentially welcoming a new resident into your community outweigh the cost to appeal to their senses, which in some cases is nothing. Touch and auditory stimulation can both be free and can help foster a positive outlook on you and your community. A handshake, a candle, and the sound of busy residents are simple but effective.

As with most of us, whether or not you eat and what you eat can influence your mood. Offering a meal to people touring your community is a great way to show them the quality of your meals, while also appealing to a few different senses at the same time.

Who do they meet?
Who prospects meet is potentially the most important aspect while on a tour. When showing people around your community, who do they meet? Interacting with an AD or ED can have a significant impact on how your community is perceived. This tells them that you’re never too busy to offer the care that they’ll need.

Additionally, introducing potential residents to seniors that are already part of your community can help foster the relationships necessary to secure them as a resident. An easy way to bring people together is through resident profiling. The information in your resident profiles can help you quickly establish a connection, linking seniors together through preferences and life experiences. Since this is where seniors will be spending a lot of their time, it’s important to help them integrate and make meaningful connections with staff and other residents.

Of course, there are a ton of different factors that can make or break an initial reaction to your community, but as a general guideline, ask yourself what would be most important to you if you were moving into your community. Chances are, people looking to move loved ones into a senior living community would be looking for the same things. For more on what potential residents are looking for in your community, you can read more here

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through our blog posts and for your support! What are your thoughts your community's first impressions? How do you put your best foot forward? Let us know on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

 

How To's and Tips, Senior Living, "Technology"

Tech Integration in Senior Living

Dis one

Technology adoption and senior living may not be completely  synonymous at the moment, but we’re facing a shift in assisted living communities that might call for more tech with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life. For this reason, it’s important for us to to consider implementing new technologies into communities to benefit both staff and seniors.

Technological Considerations

There’s no question that technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives, especially as applications shrink in size and become wearable. In the senior living space, technology like this is thriving, although adoption rates may not reflect a proactive state. Among seniors ages 65 and up, roughly four in ten are smart phone users and almost seven in ten are daily internet users. As we see an increase in the use of technology throughout elder communities, we have to adjust not only to accommodate changing lifestyles, but also to improve the care that we can offer.

With the accumulation of data, caregivers would have more opportunities to provide effective care for their residents. From wearable tech that can offer up health insights through biometric data, to smart shoes to help guide the visually impaired, the goal of implementing newer devices into senior living communities is to provide better, accurate, and more proactive care.

Existing Tech

Since the technological landscape is in a constant state of motion, adoptability becomes a crucial factor in successful implementation. In a 2017 study conducted by the PEW Research Center, researchers found that among seniors, the majority of them felt a lack in confidence when setting up and using new electronic devices, but that once they’ve established a level of understanding they “engage at high levels with digital devices and content”. So how can we leverage tech that seniors and caregivers already use?

Striking the Balance

The gathering of data and use of new technology is likely to garner concern from some seniors or caregivers. Because of this hesitation, we have to find ways of bringing in newer systems that mesh well with people’s values and lifestyles as they are.  The TSOLife program strikes the balance between personal human connection and newer technologies. Simplicity for seniors and caregivers is another large contributing factor in the programs success rate. Our easy-to-use application helps provide opportunities for more engagement for residents and more efficient processes for caregivers.  This has lead to a high adoption rate among seniors in the communities we've partnered with. 

Implementing newer applications to make lives easier is the ultimate goal. Taking full advantage of the devices community members already use is a great way to ensure a higher adoption rate and better processes. 

How To's and Tips, Senior Living, Workforce Engagement

Why Families Choose a Community

Looking for assisted living community

Looking for assisted living communities to house your loved ones is never an easy decision, especially with all of its moving parts. Considerations could range from how much (or how little) care they’ll need, proximity, activities, and a host of other things to think about. While it’s important to make sure potential residents and their families like your community, it’s also important to make sure that you have the capacity to care for them. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the top things families look for when choosing an assisted living community and how we can help make yours more appealing.

Changing Needs

There are so many different facets of change when it comes to the aging process, it can be difficult to keep up with all of them. From mental and physical changes to nutritional changes, residents in your care, as well as potential residents, need assurance that their needs can be met as they change. To see some of the needs that families could be looking for, check out AARP’s caregiving checklist for insights.

Staff Turnover

This is one of the more important aspects families may want to know about: how often does your community go through staff? If there is a revolving door of caregivers, it could be reflected in the quality and quantity of the care they’re able to provide residents. We’ve mentioned before that the industry average for caregiver turnover is around 42%. Communities that have trouble with staff retention tend to give more generalized care to their residents, which could contribute to lower resident satisfaction as well as caregiver job satisfaction. The TSOLife platform can help lower turnover by providing opportunities to staff to forge meaningful connections with their residents.

Staff-to-Resident Ratio

A community’s staff to resident ratio is directly influenced by staff turnover rates; the more staff you have coming and going, the less caregiver face time residents will get. Each state has its own standards for what the minimum ratios are between caregivers and seniors under their care. In Florida, the minimum staff to resident ratio is 1:20 for CNAs and 1:40 for licensed nurses. By helping to increase staff in assisted living facilities, the TSOLife program can positively impact the ratio of workers to residents. Families and potential residents alike both want to see more quality time spent with caregivers, which we can help ensure through both storytelling and through useful resident profiles.

Staff Training and Personality

Another important aspect sought after by families looking for assisted care is the overall training and personality of the staff, from dining staff all the way up to community directors. Yet another facet to caregiving that ties in with staff retention, having well-trained and satisfied staff comes with time and vertical movement in your community. The longer you can hold onto any given staff member, the more likely they are to make lasting impressions on your residents.

Activity Diversity

Along with a genuinely good place to live, prospects want to see how they’ll be spending their time in your community. Our platform is a great alternative to traditional community activities and helps residents open up about their lives and preferences. By getting to know their residents better, caregivers can offer activites tailored to what seniors under their care actually want. Additionally, residents who participate in our program could potentially alleviate any late-stage depression through the means of life review therapy. Potential residents and families ultimately want to see that it’s not just a place to live, but also a community to be part of.

 

There are so many other aspects to consider when looking for an assisted living community, but what we’ve covered are a few of the heavier topics that people want to see. The TSOLife program can help your community be more effective in the care that it provides, while also drawing in new residents and staff alike.

How To's and Tips, Senior Living, Workforce Engagement

No One is Looking at Employee Retention Like This

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Employee turnover is plaguing the senior living industry. According to recent surveys, the annual rates of staff turnover in assisted living range from 21% to 135% across states and reach a national average of 42%. This means increased costs and lowered community-wide satisfaction. It can even decrease occupancy.

When faced with this challenge, senior care providers are encouraged to offer competitive wages, proactively recruit, improve training, and provide a comfortable work environment, among other tangible things. Yet, no one is making substantial strides in increasing staff retention.

That’s why we need to look at employee retention through a new lens.


Organizational Commitment

Organizational commitment  is closely linked with staff turnover. Employees that are committed to their jobs are less likely to quit and perform better; it’s even a better predictor of turnover than job satisfaction. So how do senior living providers foster organizational commitment?

Organizational culture.

Culture is not just marketing ploy for companies. The power of its influence shapes how staff perceive their jobs and their commitment. Establishing an organization that values morale, teamwork, and participation in decision making doesn’t happen overnight. If being intentional about your company’s culture isn’t on your radar, Entrepreneur provides an article on building a strong company culture here.

 

Interpersonal Relationships

A common thread among employees in this industry is their fondness of the residents, and this unique relationship with the seniors can actually translate to job commitment. When staff engage with residents through meaningful conversation, a bond is created that directly contributes to retention. The residents become more than patients: they’re extended family. And saying goodbye to family is much more difficult than leaving for transnational purposes.

A study looked at employees who were considering leaving their jobs compared to those who actually quit. On the basis of their ranking of reasons for staying and leaving, the study suggests that “stayers” appeared to assign more importance to the intrinsic or people-oriented rewards of their jobs, such as relationships with residents, feelings about caring for sick people, and relationships with supervisors. Further, their fondness of the residents was a prominent reason for them staying, as exemplified by the typical comment: “they [residents] wrap around your heart”.

However, with all the must-haves in senior living, the stress of meeting regulations and staying compliant, and ensuring residents are happy and healthy, making time for “meaningful interaction” often slips through the cracks. That’s why it is critical that staff integrate these interactions into their daily routines. Simple tools and technology can help promote purposeful conversation.

Because of the therapeutic and cognitive benefits, there is a huge emphasis on storytelling for seniors. However, storytelling also gives context into the resident’ lives, and helps the staff view the residents as more than a task, they’re a grandfather/daughter/successful entrepreneur/world traveler with a rich history behind them.

Strong bonds and residents who feel celebrated mean happier employees. And happier employees stay longer.

 

Looking at Employee Retention in a New Light 

With the projected care staff shortage and the increasing need for services related to the growing elderly population, a focus on staff turnover is critical in meeting the needs of the aging population.

The success of your senior living organization greatly relies on your ability to attract and retain employees who are passionate about carrying out the company’s resident-centered philosophy into their daily routines.

A focus on increasing organizational commitment and employee-resident connection might be the missing link in your staff retention strategy.

 


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TSOLife (The Story Of Life) focuses on preserving legacy and passing down life stories for future generations. We help senior living communities leverage technology to capture, preserve, and share the life stories of the residents in their care. It fostering purposeful engagement and providing a precious keepsake for the families.

Learn More

How To's and Tips, Celebrating Life

Seniors Can Get More and Better Sleep By Following This Essential Advice

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Contributed by Karen Weeks of Elder Wellness

Are you a senior who struggles to get enough sleep? A routine of restful sleep at night can help seniors preserve their physical health while maintaining cognitive function; but if you need help getting the sleep you need, then you need to pay attention to the following tips.
 

Thoroughly Address Serious Sleep Issues

Though often overlooked, your sleep issues could be the result of an actual sleep disorder. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, and restless leg syndrome (RLS), can keep seniors from getting the sleep they need to stay healthy. With proper testing and treatment, however, you can get these issues under control and get to sleep again. For seniors who use Medicare, be aware of the coverage regarding sleep disorders, testing, and treatments. For Medicare to cover testing, you may need to be under a certain plan, and you will need a referral from a doctor. You can find out more about various sleep disorders, tests, and how Medicare covers sleep issues by clicking here. When a sleep or health issue seems to be at the root of your lack of sleep, it may be time to talk to your doctor.


Develop a Healthy Diet and Exercise Routine

You may already be aware of how a balanced diet and regular exercise can impact your overall health and brain function—but did you know that diet and exercise can affect the way you sleep? Getting enough exercise and eating a balanced diet can help you get more restful sleep. One of the best ways for seniors to stay active during the day is by walking. Walking is underrated as a form of exercise, but even a few extra steps can improve your health and help you get better sleep. Seniors can use a pedometer or fitness tracker to get a better handle on their physical health and track the number of steps they take each day. The best pedometers and fitness trackers will count your steps, calculate the distance you’ve traveled, and keep tabs on how many calories you burn. Keeping these counts in mind can motivate seniors to get the exercise they need to preserve their body, their cognitive function, and the quality of their sleep.


Properly Prepare Your Mind and Body for Sleep

One of the most effective ways to promote better sleep is to develop a bedtime routine that helps your brain and body unwind. Many people with sleep issues find it helpful to complete a brain dump before they crawl into bed. You can use a journal to write down all your thoughts, worries, and things to do so that they aren’t keeping you up at night. If your body has a hard time relaxing before bed, try some steps to physically wind down as well. A warm shower or bath can regulate your body temperature for better sleep. You can even use relaxing yoga to release tension from your muscles and soothe yourself to sleep.


Create a Sleep Sanctuary in Your Bedroom  
 

If you have problems getting to sleep, you should make your bedroom a haven for relaxation. Stick to using your bedroom for sleep and avoid completing other activities, such as watching television or even reading, while you are tucked into bed. If it’s been a while since you purchased your mattress, consider shopping around for a new one that is more supportive and less worn down. The right bedding and pillows can enhance your sleep as well. You can find pillows made for various sleeping positions, designed to correctly support your neck and head however you like to sleep. Cooling sheets and layered blankets can also help seniors regulate body heat and stay cool enough to stay asleep.

Like diet and exercise, sleep is essential in helping seniors stay strong, healthy, and happy. So take some steps to improve your sleep, as well as your wellness and quality of life.

Photo Credit: Unsplash 

 

 

Elder Wellness is a resource for older adults who wish to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits well.

How To's and Tips, Celebrating Life, Senior Living

5 Fresh Activities for Seniors in Assisted Living

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Seniors in assisted living want to stay connected to their interests and passions. Families want to know that mom or dad is in a good community. Activity directors want fresh, worthwhile ideas that will generate participation and enthusiasm.

Meaningful activities can combat against depression, a common risk in long-term, senior living. Physical activities are hugely important, but the importance of cognitive exercises and social interaction cannot be downplayed.

The problem is that most assisted living communities have a very small activities budget. So, when resources and abilities are tight, make sure your activities calendar is packed with energetic and meaningful activities that will generate the most participation and greatest impact.

We’ve put together a quick list of some of our favorite assisted living activities that can lead to purposeful discussions and meaningful interactions.

Life Story Workshops 

Workshops that encourage discussing and writing life stories provide the opportunity for seniors to preserve their memories and leave their legacies. Seniors will enjoy sharing happy memories and the “good ole’ days”, but even more, talking about difficult memories can turn into a positive experience and contribute to a stronger community. There are numerous clinical studies that show that sharing life stories can be therapeutic for seniors suffering from depression.

Organize a group sharing session with a weekly theme, such as “Christmas Family Traditions”, “Favorite Vacations”, or “Childhood Memories”. Check out these prompts for intriguing questions and themes that you can use for inspiration.

Small groups work best with this activity so that an intimate environment is created and trust can be built. However, if resources and staff are limited, have seniors with similar interests partner with one another, or showcase a select few residents each week, and give them the floor to speak.

Remember to keep the sessions casual so that the senior feels relaxed, but structure is key in ensuring a smooth activity and the most meaningful interactions.

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Intergenerational Programs

Intergenerational programs facilitate visits from younger visitors to interact with senior residents. True intergenerational programs are, as Nancy Henkin of Temple University says, “not nice, but necessary.” This is an opportunity to create meaningful and fun interactions. The residents have the opportunity to be surrogate grandparents to local youngsters while children are able to learn from their elders. 

According to Senior Lifestyle, seniors who regularly volunteer with children burn 20% more calories per week, experienced fewer falls, were less reliant on canes, and performed better on memory tests than their peers.

 Depending the cognitive and mobility levels of your community, arts and crafts, reading activities, puzzles and games, or even lunch dates are just a few of the intergenerational activity possibilities. This is also an opportunity for youth to teach basic computer usage, bringing residents closer to their families through email, Skype, sending greeting cards and so much more. 

Show-and-Tell

Do you remember looking forward to “Show-and-Tell” day in your elementary school class? Now, after years and years of collecting keepsakes and memories, show-and-tell can be an opportunity for rich stories to emerge from your residents and for memories to resurface that haven’t been thought about for years.

Seniors are encouraged to choose an important belonging and share the story behind it to the group. Whether this is an old photograph, family heirloom, or a grandchild’s drawing, seniors have a chance to share something meaningful about their past. The seniors feel celebrated and honored. 

Celebrate Their Heritage

Celebrating the tangible and intangible aspects of your resident’s culture and ethnicity can add to the uniqueness of the seniors and strengthen the community as a whole. Activities that promote greater understanding of your differences while encouraging a conversation will help you learn about your community.

In addition to celebrating diverse holidays and serving ethnic foods, your community can honor the intangible aspects that have helped shape the seniors you serve today. This can be done through cultural speakers, music, cooking and art classes, or story sharing.

Volunteering Opportunities

Service to others is one of the most intrinsically fulfilling opportunities you can provide for your residents. Besides the innate reward of helping others, volunteering promotes good physical and mental health and helps seniors pursue their passions in retirement.

While they may not be able to physically lend a helping hand, they can do good within the walls of the community by making blankets for a charity, writing cards for a children’s hospital, packaging or sorting care boxes, and more. Immobility does not eliminate volunteering opportunities. Get creative, partner with a local charity, and bring in outside volunteers. In return, not only will your seniors feel good about themselves, you’ll be fostering a culture of compassion – not just for the residents, but for the local community and beyond.

 


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TSOLife (The Story of Life) focuses on preserving legacy and passing down life stories for future generations. Our mission is that no grandchild should have to wonder what their grandparent was like. Our unique solutions create the most personalized way to pass down personal stories that families will share and cherish for generations.

Learn More!

How To's and Tips, Documenting Your Story, Preserving Memories, Writing Your Memoir, Memoir

Creating a Memory List: Great Tips to Start Your Memoir

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Writing about your life may sound easy… until you sit down with that blank piece of paper or computer screen in front of you and your mind goes blank.

Been there.

So, how do you get over this?  I suggest by creating a memory list! Trying to write your lifestories without a memory list is like driving on a dark road without headlights. When you turn on those lights, you can then stay in between the lines and on the road.

It is worth taking some time to create a list of events that have occurred during your life, and I know even that may sound overwhelming. Let’s begin with a few ground rules and make it fun:

Start thinking about the major events from your past. When you married; had a child; went to college; graduated high school; visited your grandparents in the summer; moved to another state… On and on it will go!! Once you open that part of your brain where the memories are stored, they will just flow onto the paper. (Some of you may find that typing in a word processor works for you just as well as writing on paper. YOUR CHOICE. Later, in a future post, we will talk more about how different writing methods can elicit different results in our perspective on a life event.)

We are trying to create a list of random thoughts and recollections - hundreds of brief statements. This may take you a few days, to a week and maybe even several months. I recommend creating this list in a way that you can add to it as time goes on.

Some folks like to use a 3-ring binder where you can shift the pages around and increase the pages easily. Of course, if you are typing on a word processor, there is always, “cut and paste!”. Don’t worry about repeating yourself as you write, as that can be a clue to something on your mind that needs to be explored.

I suggest you start this way: mull and ponder a little! As the memories come, jot them down and write whatever comes to mind. Release that inner censor that tells you, “that word is not spelled right”, “it’s not a full sentence”, etc. Let the thoughts drift from your brain.

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Have you heard of free writing? Don’t lift your hands from the paper, just keep going! Sometimes, you will remember dates, names, places, and other obscure memories - but not the details, just yet! It’s OK to write in fragments and short bursts of thoughts. Think of an old-fashioned water pump: one must pump that handle until the water starts to flow, and when it does, it just gushes out! Don’t punctuate, spell check, try to create a sentence or even a paragraph. Keep your list where you can access it easily and add to it until you have several pages.

Once you have those many pages of memories written, let’s get them organized! Read through your list and choose 5 to 10 core events that you want to write about first. It’s important to consider what you think changed your life’s direction, what lesson you may have learned, who and why were the most important people, places or things that made you who you are today. These core events are where you begin. Now you may write a sentence and get that spelling right!!

Your stories are there waiting to be told. Your task is to let them emerge from the depths of your memory. (Quote borrowed from Turning Memories Into Memoirs, A Handbook for Writing Lifestories, by Denis Ledoux)

Next time we will discuss how to expand those sentences and begin to write your lifestories by using your senses!

 

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ABOUT TSOLIFE

TSOLife focuses on creating innovative ways to preserve legacy and pass down life stories for future generations. Our mission is that no grandchild should have to wonder what their grandparent was like. Our unique solutions create the most personalized way to pass down personal stories that families will share and cherish for generations.

Learn More!

How To's and Tips, Funeral Home

Is Content Marketing Right for Your Funeral Home?


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In short, yes. Content marketing is profitable, if you're doing it right.

But frankly, if you’re creating content for search engine optimization (SEO), you’re wasting your time. Potential customers will not find your funeral home’s website through generic blog posts titled What to Say at a Funeral or topics on traditional Malaysian cremation practices. These keywords are searched on Google, but the chances of them being typed by a potential customer in your area are slim to none.

However, that’s not to say that you should scratch your social media efforts and stop writing blogs altogether. Having a content marketing strategy based on the unique needs, issues, and perspectives of the ideal customers will give your funeral home brand recognition and set you apart from the competitors.

When it comes to content marketing, we think the funeral home industry could learn a thing or two. Keep reading to find out what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and what you can do to maximize your results.


What is content marketing?

According to Hubspot, content marketing is a marketing strategy that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience. Marketers utilize social media networks, blogs, and other media types like Ebooks, case studies, webinars, and podcasts to put material in front of potential and existing customers. According to Kissmetrics, 94% of small businesses, 93% of B2Bs, and 77% of B2Cs use content marketing. It seems that everyone is doing it. Then why are funeral homes struggling to create effective content marketing? 

Web-based content marketing allows you to reach customers across the globe. However, for a funeral service, this is not necessarily an advantage when you're offering a service that is only applicable to customers who live in the area. For example, say you wrote a blog post titled "What to Say at a Funeral", and it had incredible SEO (search engine optimization). However, your funeral home is located in Florida, and your audience is the entire Internet community searching those keywords on Google. Your time and resources are wasted on writing that blog when your goal is to convert readers to customers, and the majority of your readers are not in a 30 mile radius of your funeral home. 

This example illustrates the common misuse of content marketing. To address this, it is important to distinguish the difference between content developed for potential customers and existing customers. 

Remember that all content you create should be original. Search engines reward content that is unique and catered towards a specific search. Creating good content takes time, and you'll benefit from making this a priority. Don't simply go through the motions.

According to Hubspot, content marketing is a marketing strategy that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience. Marketers utilize social media networks, blogs, and other media types like Ebooks, case studies, webinars, and podcasts to put material in front of potential and existing customers. According to Kissmetrics, 94% of small businesses, 93% of B2Bs, and 77% of B2Cs use content marketing. It seems that everyone is doing it. Then why are funeral homes struggling to create effective content marketing? Is this even the right approach for a funeral home?

What you’re doing right.

Families who are familiar with your funeral home look to you for support and answers along every step of the funeral process, from pre-planning to dealing with grief months after the service.

If you don’t already, make sure your funeral home has a FAQ on your website and pages on grief support, funeral terminology, types of services, tips on creative services, and more community resource. When building this content, ask yourself, "How can my customers maximize their investment?". Additionally, your blog posts compliment these pages. For example, the Grief Support page can incorporate inbound links to related blog articles you’ve written, like How to Help a Grieving Friend. This is great for the stage of customers who are already on your web page, but writing blog posts should not be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. The aforementioned resources will affirm your expertise, help you qualify prospects, and finally help make the sale but will not bring prospects to your site.

What you’re doing wrong.

Generic blog posts. Remember that all content you create should be original. Search engines reward content that is unique and catered towards a specific search. Creating good content takes time, and you'll benefit from making this a priority. Don't simply go through the motions.

Thinking that your blog is going to show up on the first page of Google. It most likely won’t, unless your content is extremely unique to the keywords being search. Don’t get too disappointed when your post is not ranking as highly as you thought it would on Google’s search results. The people searching for “inspiring quotes to guide you through grieving” are probably not your customers anyways.

Paying thousands of dollars to a third party to write your blog posts. Your money is better suited somewhere else where you can actually convert leads. In the next section we’ll dive deeper into where your resources will actually pay off.

What you can do to maximize results.

How do your offerings and expertise set you apart from competition? What makes your funeral home the best? In today’s competitive marketplace, it is essential to implement marketing that makes your firm the first to come to mind when a death occurs and families need to act fast.

Market yourself as the go-to resource in your community on all things funeral related. If families have benefited from your expertise services on death education, pre-planning, and grief support, they'll be more likely to recommend you to others. Peer recommendations carry significant weight in today's customer. Additionally, they’ll return when they know you are the best funeral home in the area. There's no need to explore other firms when you've proven yourself as the best funeral home in the area. This concept goes back to my previous point that content marketing will help you make the sale but will not get enough SEO to rank for generic keywords.

Now, in regards to getting potential customers on your page, you need to focus on solving your prospects’ needs. Why do your customers care about the content you're publishing? To do this, develop content that will get your brand name in front of your community. 

  • Hire a video company to create a virtual tour of your home. If you were looking for a wedding photographer, you’d want to see examples of their photos, not read a blog title 10 Best Most Flattering Wedding Poses. Similarly, when shopping-around for funeral homes, it’d be a critical asset to the families to be able to actually watch a short video showing off your space. Use the money you would spend on an inbound marketing company for a service that actually brings value to your customers.
  • Hire a professional to film your staff and interview the funeral director. Let your potential customers meet your friendly and professional team before they make that first line of contact.
  • Write a newsletter. A monthly newsletter gets your message directly to the community. This is especially applicable to your existing and previous customers. If they're already using your services, they've most likely given you permission to email them. Do you do any outreach programs or facilitate group grief support activities? Advertising these events in a newsletter is content marketing that proves that your firm is more than just a funeral home - you're an ally along the journey during this challenging time. 
  • Partner with community groups and businesses in your area and align your services with theirs. For example, partner with a personal documentary service and incorporate them into your pre-plan packages. Then you'll be adding value to your funeral home and will be able to use these inspirational videos as content marketing pieces on social media.

Reevaluate Your Strategy.

Being able to adapt your content marketing strategy based on the unique needs, issues, and perspectives of your potential and existing customers will help you attract the ideal customers and build trust with your existing customers. Be the expert on all things grief and design your content as support tool for every step of the process. 

Ask yourself, why would my clients read this? What need does this serve? Will my potential customers be able to find this content? Remember, designing successful content is challenging. So, put in the time, do your research, and remember, no one knows your service and customers as well as you do.

At the end of the day, content marketing for SEO is not going to get leads in the funnel. A blog does not build your relationship with potential customers, but the fact that you’ve been in the market for 80 years is what adds value to your funeral home. Market yourself on what will stand out to the customer. Is maximizing your SEO the best use of your resources? For most of you, probably not.

 

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ABOUT TSOLIFE

TSOLife provides innovative solutions that go above and beyond to give clients the memorials they deserve. Include TSOLife's documentary service as part of your pre-need packages and set your funeral home apart from the rest. It is time to celebrate a life well-lived in a way that is engaging for the whole family. 

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How To's and Tips, Funeral Home

What to Wear to a Funeral


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Deciding what to wear to a funeral almost seems obvious, but wearing black is becoming outdated as more and more mourning services are being replaced by celebrations-of-life services. Figuring out what to wear to a funeral can be confusing, especially when your outfit is the last thing on your mind in the midst of your grieving. 

Have you ever wondered...

Why do people wear black to funerals? Wearing black has been a long-accepted tradition intended to show respect to the deceased and the family. Where did the association of black mourning clothing come from? In fact, this tradition can be traced back to the Roman Empire when the family of the deceased would wear a dark-colored toga called a toga pulla. This tradition spread to Europe during medieval times when widows wore black caps and veils to convey their mourning.

Do all cultures wear black to funerals? In other parts of medieval Europe like Spain and France, widows in their deepest mourning wore white. White is also traditionally worn in India and China. However, at a Chinese funeral service, if someone is older then 80, red is acceptable. Further, in Myanmar, yellow is acceptable, and in Iranian culture, mourners traditionally wear blue or purple.

As you can see, dressing for a funeral is not "black and white" when you take into consideration the venue, the family, and the culture - making us ask the question: what do I wear to a funeral?

Here are some general tips to help you dress for a funeral, memorial service, visitation, wake, or graveside service.

  • Choose a color. The inclination is to choose something black, but a gray, navy, or other understated colors is also appropriate in most situations. It should not be something that will stand out, as you should aim at clean, subdued color clothing. If color is specified or it's an entirely non-traditional ceremony, don't worry about dressing in dark colors.
  • Think classic. Dress appropriately and conservatively, especially if the service is in a place of worship. Keep in mind the guests that will be attending, and if they would find your clothing inappropriate, you should probably change. It is sometimes helpful to dress business professional - skirts, trousers, suits. 

Some further tips to add:

  • Are you a member of the immediate family? If so, keep in mind that you will be setting the dress code for the rest of the guests.
  • If you're outside and it's a summer day in Florida, you are most likely not expected to wear a full suit. 
  • A pre-planned funeral service may include instructions for attendees attires. 
  • Occasionally, the family will request that guests wear their loved one’s favorite color, sports team jersey, or something else that might have been meaningful to the person who passed away. They will usually note this in the service announcement.

Hopefully this post has helped you when deciding what to wear to a funeral service. At the end of the day, your presence is what truly matters. This is not a time for people to be judgmental, so unless you're wearing ripped jeans and a sweatshirt, you're probably OK. You can now have the peace of mind to be able to focus on grieving - and celebrating the life - of your loved one.

 

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ABOUT TSOLIFE

TSOLife is a Florida based company that focuses on creating new and innovative ways to preserve legacies and pass down life stories for future generations. Our unique solutions create the most personalized way to pass down life stories that families will share and cherish for generations.

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