Last week, I began to explain my acronym, “BRIGHT,” with regard to what one should look for in choosing a senior residence. Is the community letting their light shine “bright” like a diamond for others to see?
As a summary from last week, the letter B stands for helping a new resident feel like he/she Belongs. There is no worse feeling than one of feeling out-of-place. R is for Respect, the cornerstone of excellence. Respect and sincerity must be woven into the fabric of a caring community, and then worn with great humility. I is for Interaction. Healthy, meaningful interactions with staff, other residents and even visitors to the community are important.
For G, I chose the word Great. What makes a community great, rather than just good? I think it boils down to the commitment and passion that the organization has for the people it is serving. When all staff members perform out of a desire to help and serve, instead of from a checklist of duties and responsibilities, then you know you have the beginnings of a great community. Many times, little differences make a community shine bright.
H is for Hope. The challenge for senior-living communities is to help each resident discover a purpose to keep on keepin’ on. Life without purpose is pretty dull. Nola Ochs graduated from Fort Hays State University in Kansas at the age of 95 — she is the oldest college graduate ever. She said studying and learning gave her a deep sense of satisfaction.
“Most everyone has an inner desire,” she told MyBestYears.com. “… I would encourage people to search their desires, to pick out one, and then get out and do it.”
If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.
T is for Trust. Trust is the foundation on which we build all of our expectations. If our expectations are not met, our trust immediately goes down. Senior adults residing in communities with living assistance trust that the community and staff will do all that they can to keep them safe, healthy and happy. Family members expect the same.
When you enter a community for the first time, ask residents why they like living there. Watch staff members interact with people to be sure they are operating out of passion and commitment to serve others. Ask yourself if the residents appear well cared for and happy.
Ask to see a copy of the last survey that was conducted; note that deficiencies do not always equate to the quality of the community. Ask the administrator or a person in charge to explain the results — this can help reassure you that the leadership team is carefully managing everything.
Schedule a tour around lunch so you can try the food. Although tastes do differ, generally the food should be appealing and the dining experience pleasant.
Make your visit when you have time. This way, you can get a better overall feeling for the residence and what it has to offer. Hopefully, your experience will be positive and the community will shine “BRIGHT” like a diamond.
DeLong is the executive director for The Suites at Station Exchange. Email him at Suites.StationExchange@gmail.com.