Senior Living, How To's and Tips, 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.

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Senior Living, Storytelling, Preserving Memories

Capture and record the stories of World War II veterans —  before it's too late

The guy piloting the landing craft got as close to the beach as he could. I was up by the ramp when it went down. Let's get the hell out of here! Bullets were flying all over. You had to get off and keep moving, because if you didn't, you were a dead duck…

“June 6, 1944, is a day I’ll never forget,” said William E. D'Huyvetters, a 90-year-old World War II veteran. He recalls hitting Omaha Beach on D-Day in his interview here.

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Stories like William’s are lost before they’re ever recorded. Everyday, World War II veterans are dying, and with them are stories of terrors and triumphs. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 362 WWII veterans die each day and it’s estimated that only 350,000 United States Veterans of the original 16 million Americans who served are still alive. The youngest of these heroes are in their late eighties, and some are more than 100 years old.

The passing of the WWII generation

World War II veterans are a diminishing demographic, and it’s important to capture their stories now, while they’re still with us. This generation holds the stories of bloodshed and sacrifice - the stories of things they had to endure to be here today.

There are numerous benefits to storytelling. By starting the conversation with the Greatest Generation, we’re giving them the opportunity to share wartime experiences and life advice for future generations. We only have a short period of time until WWII is complete history.

Capture these stories

Fortunately, there are initiatives in place to capture these stories before it’s too late. One of which is the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project which collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans.

However, a program like this doesn’t need to be government-backed. One 19-year-old made it his mission to film interviews with the remaining WWII combat veterans. With the support of donors, Heroes of the Second World War has been able to interview 849 men.

Go out of your normal social circles, venture into senior homes and talk to your elderly neighbor. If you have the privilege to work at a senior living organization, you probably hear these stories daily. A Legacy Preservation Program initiates the conversation and ensures these stories are preserved for generations to come.

When you’re speaking to a veteran, you tend to forget that the person who they were. That person in the picture, that handsome kid, is the same man 70 years earlier. It almost seems like it’s the story they’re telling of someone else. When it hits you, that you’re talking to the same person, it’s a combination of joy and sadness - this kid went through hell, just so that we could be here.

It means a lot to these veterans to create a relationship with you and feel valued. You can see the youth come out of them when they have a good conversation and they have the opportunity to reminisce for a few minutes.

You don’t need to go searching for celebrities. There are plenty of real-life heroes just a phone call away.

 


 

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TSOLife (The Story Of Life) focuses on preserving legacy and passing down life stories for future generations. Inspired to capture the stories of the veterans in your care? We help senior living communities leverage technology to capture, preserve, and share the life stories of the residents in their care. Let's talk!

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Celebrating Life, Company, Senior Living

Introducing the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program

This month, we introduced the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program, a first-of-its kind technology program that makes capturing and preserving life stories simple for users who don’t want to write the stories out themselves. Designed with senior living organizations in mind, the program lets the staff record their seniors telling life stories and preserves them on our family-facing Engagement Platform. By empowering the community to capture these stories, the seniors feel celebrated and families are given a precious keepsake that they'll cherish for generations.

Request a demo here to see for yourself how simple the tool is.

Our Story

The senior living industry seemed like an instinctive fit for TSOLife from the company’s very beginning. Senior living communities, in-home care providers, and hospices are full of individuals with incredibly rich life stories, many of which have never been shared, let alone documented. And too often these stories are lost before they’re ever recorded.

But it wasn’t until our newest team member came on board – someone who had grown up and worked with assisted living communities – that we were able to find the perfect product-market fit. He was explaining to us a specific relationship he had built with one of the seniors, Dave, a Navy Seal veteran, who would share the same war stories repeatedly. One day, Dave’s family visited, and the granddaughter had no idea that her grandfather had even served in the military!

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These situations were not uncommon. The staff heard these incredible stories in everyday interactions, but there was no simple way to document and share these narratives with the families who rarely had the chance to sit down and ask these type of questions.

The TSOLife is the bridge between the caregivers hearing the stories and a grandchild being able to listen to them.

So, with this technology, we developed the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program, providing these communities the tools and technology to be able to capture and record their life stories.

Senior Living is Changing

The senior living industry is growing at over 4.7% annually, and with a vast range of options for senior care, the need to differentiate from the competition is crucial to attract families. And wellness programs are one of the key differentiators assisted living communities are utilizing to attract prospects, elevate current resident satisfaction, and engage families. And daily bingo won’t do the job; outdated approaches no longer work with today’s families.

According to J.D. Power’s analysis of senior living communities, "Communities that provide exceptional service are rewarded by their customers becoming brand ambassadors, positively speaking about their experience with an average of seven individuals. For those that fail to meet expectations, customers turn into brand assassins, speaking negatively about the brand to an average of 13 friends, relatives and colleagues.” And referrals are key when gaining prospects.

The TSOLife Solution

The Legacy Preservation Program is a key component to a company’s comprehensive wellness program - a perfect solution for senior living organizations looking to champion patient-first, holistic care in ways that families have come to expect. Best practice communities start with the mission and develop their wellness culture from that core foundation. At the same time, communities become more attractive to potential investors who see a forward-thinking organization. The TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program meets both mission and operational objectives.

What You Can Do with TSOLife

The Legacy Preservation Program begins with training material for the staff, so they will be able to conduct the interviews with ease and confidence, navigating those crucial conversations.

To capture the stories, users use the TSOLife mobile application. There’s two main features within the app, the first is an audio recording tool used to interview the resident. The staff member just selects the resident she’s interviewing, and has a conversation about the resident’s life, asking open-ended questions like, “What was it like growing up in Tampa or tell me the story how your husband proposed.”

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The second feature is called Magic Moments. This was designed with Memory Care Facilities in mind - residents who are not easily capable of recalling past life events. When a resident has a moment of clarity and remembers a memory from her youth, the staff member can pull up the app and capture the moment instantly

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Now going back to our friend Dave, imagine his caregivers having that conversation about his favorite memories, but being able to record it with the TSOLife app. Just hit send, and that audio is transcribed and organized into individual stories and preserved on our TSOLife Engagement Platform. We notify Dave’s family, saying “Hey, take a look at Dave’s life stories, look at this amazing activity that X Community did with Dave.” And the family simply clicks on the link and is taken to Dave’s personal TSOLife account. His grand kids can read his stories and listen to their grandfather’s own words recount his heroic stories as a Navy Seal.

For the Magic Moments, we combine all the videos taken of the residents into a seamless video and send it to the families once a month.

And for residents like Dave, his incredible life stories are captured and preserved for his family to enjoy today and cherish for years to come. There will be grandchildren and great grandchildren that will have the opportunity to hear the life story of their late family member, all because of the work TSOLife and Dave’s community are doing.

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We’ve already seen the effect TSOLife has on families, and now, when used properly, it can provide a relatively inexpensive way to attract prospects, keep families engaged, and foster meaningful relationships for senior living organizations. Pairing this program with a community that already offers extraordinary care and amenities, and your community can significantly elevate themselves above the competition.

To see how it works in action, schedule a free web demo today! Learn more about the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program here.

Senior Living, Storytelling, Preserving Memories, Company

TSOLife Case Study: A Legacy Preservation Program meets both mission and operational objectives

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In today's world of senior living, assisted living communities are expected to do more with less. Families have come to expect amenities and care that go above and beyond, while staff are under significant financial and time constrains. Now, imagine if there was an affordable program that attracted prospecting families, elevated current resident satisfaction, and engaged families. That's exactly what the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program does. 

Click here to view the case study

Understanding the need for communities to increase person-centered care and resident engagement in order to increase occupancy, the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program was designed to do just that by pairing state-of-the art technology with face-to-face interaction. Our innovative technology makes the process simple and timely so that staff can focus on what matters most: the senior. Meanwhile, meaningful interactions are encouraged, seniors are engaged, and the resident feels celebrated and valued. 

The technology was designed with seniors in mind. For example, instead of requiring typing, which can be an obstacle for some people, the TSOLife mobile app converts spoken phrases to text, which is sent to family and friends, all of which is automated on our end. 

A TSOLife Legacy Preservation program is the embodiment of a community that cares for its residents. We've put together a case study that demonstrates how effective TSOLife is from a business's standpoint while highlighting the impact this program has on seniors and their families.

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To see how it works in action, schedule a free web demo today! Learn more about the Minerva System and the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program here.

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Celebrating Life, How To's and Tips, 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!