5 Key Take-aways from 2023 Senior Living 100 Conference

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Reduce Burnout for Staff in Order to Retain Them

The senior living landscape across the United States has changed drastically over the course of a global pandemic. Finding good people to work with is a challenge but what is a far bigger challenge is making sure those people continue working for your organization. The senior living community nowadays faces similar challenges, in terms of hiring and retaining health care workers. This points to the bigger question, 

How does senior living create a culture where care professionals feel valued, have a sense of purpose and are happier generally? 

Healthcare leaders need to work with digital platforms that truly help achieve these outcomes. There is no denying the importance of an organization’s culture: this is closely knitted with provider health and their well-being. 

The only way we can engage and retain care professionals is by addressing burnout among them. Burnout due to stress and mental health pressures doubles the risk of health care workers opting out of the profession altogether. Actively addressing burnout by finding ways to make teams’ lives easier is this a critical priority. Care professionals need to feel more engaged in their line of work and more supported by the people, processes, and technology that they work with.

Communication is what bridges the gap and brings us closer together as a community!

Effective communication can lower burnout and reduce turnover in senior living communities.

Hucu.ai is one communication platform that helps care providers communicate easily in one place both within and outside an organization. Channel-based communication in Hucu.ai, really helps care providers feel more connected to the team and to have purpose in all of their care efforts. Being able to take a picture of a task completed for residents and being able to share that securely with other team members or their families can be quite fulfilling in itself. Though it sounds small, sometimes even the smallest of appreciation can bring a smile on the face of providers amid their difficult routines. For many care agencies, Hucu.ai has increased job satisfaction among providers, effectively reducing burnout with proven successful lowered turnover rates. 

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Differentiate with Person-Centered Care & Wellness

The major trend in senior living now is encompassed in three keywords: living, better and longer. This requires an overall commitment to wellness. What is wellness? Wellness means individuals fully understanding and acting on their capacity to live a meaningful and engaged life. Senior living prioritizes wellness for many reasons. This is because wellness helps drive better outcomes for residents at senior living facilities. 

Wellness increases the resident’s level of engagement and satisfaction with the facility. It results in an increased level of stay. Wellness focuses on prevention, in order to lower healthcare costs. Older men and women can lead longer lives if they don’t smoke, exercise daily, have a normal body mass index, an overall healthy diet and consume alcohol in moderate amounts. 

Wellness helps in sustaining the new senior living model. 

Wellness results in better health for your residents: with more of them moving into the senior living community (47%) and being happy with the quality of life offered. 

Move Towards Value-Based Care 

Value-based primary care has the ability to improve community census and resident’s length of stay at senior living facilities. Some strategies that support aging in place are avoiding  ER/IP admits, ensuring timely responses to an emergency and providing more wellness programming to promote wellness.. Engagement across teams is key as engaged staff and patients drive higher quality of care. 

What is Value-based Healthcare? VBC is a healthcare model, in which providers are reimbursed on the  basis of patient health outcomes. The trend for this is rising across U.S healthcare driving more providers to focus on quality healthcare and improving the overall patient experience at a lower cost. 

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The annual savings of 14.4 million Americans aged 74 or above will be lower than $60,000 by 2029. Similarly, the average resident in the senior living facility suffers from somewhere between eight and fourteen chronic conditions. With the value-based care movement, the goal is for every Medicare beneficiary to have provider-based relationships with greater accountability for the quality and total cost of care they receive by 2030.  One example is Viva Bene, with the integration of value-based care and senior living driving forward a proactive approach to seniors towards their health and well-being. 

Offer Behavioral Health Care

Mental or neurological disorders are quite common among adults aged 60 or over: 20% of individuals in this age category suffer from mental health disorders. The population for seniors is growing rapidly, while access to care is not keeping up. In fact,  there is a rising shortage of mental health providers. This is the difficult challenge for those in charge of senior living. Most secure memory units are not up to date or cannot properly address mental health issues among residents. Addressing mental illnesses among seniors needs to be prioritized and can have some very serious consequences for the community if left untreated. 

Factors such as social isolation, changes in life or loss are what mostly cause common mental health problems (depression) among seniors. This is why it is important for the mental health of seniors to be regularly assessed by caregivers at the facilities. Senior living communities are typically designed in a manner that makes them safer compared to a typical community residence. Safe environments tend to lower fear and anxiety among residents. Activities and physical/occupational therapy help in elevating resident well-being and their overall mood. Proper resources will play a critical role in achieving overall wellness among senior facility residents. 

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Senior living needs to be well-equipped for the aging population, in ways that fully accommodate the mental health conditions of their residents. This could be achieved by a senior living facility partnering with an established mental health provider, training staff and monitoring mental health through assessment or wellness programs. 

Reduce Increasing Costs

Resident Fees are the most critical budget item for most senior living organizations. In order to continue to be competitive and attract new residents, holding the line on increases will be important. Thus, senior living organizations need proactive solutions in order to effectively lower costs in our inflationary environment. Some key strategies they could take into consideration are engaging their residents in ways that prove interesting to them. One example would be Meatless Mondays: which would serve the two-fold purpose of supporting the environment and health and would save on meal costs at the facility. 

Another strategy senior living facilities could look at is the elimination of agency staff wherever possible and also reduce overtime through more timely hiring from internship programs and high schools. Other strategies could be the setting up of utilities management systems that could help control heating costs at the facility. Using group purchasing organizations can also yield savings for large purchases such as food, equipment, and software services.

Amid rising costs, senior living organizations must channel their inner creativity and think of ways that lower costs and keep track of every penny spent at the facility. 

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