The Importance of Culture in Senior Living Communities
Ever wonder why we chose to live where we do? For many of us, our families or our jobs drive our decisions of where and how we live for most of our lives. But then, one glorious day, we find ourselves without work or family responsibilities. And, maybe, for the first time we truly get to decide where we want to call home for the rest of our lives.
That’s a lot of freedom, and responsibility. If you’re looking at moving to a senior living community, one of the first factors you should evaluate is its senior living culture.
What Is Senior Living Culture?
Quite simply, senior living culture encompasses the customs, arts, social interactions and achievements of a particular senior living community. The best, and perhaps the only, way to understand a culture is to experience it firsthand. That’s why you should visit the senior living communities you’re interested in. Take advantage of tours, mixers and overnight stays to really allow yourself time to become immersed in the senior living culture of a community and determine whether it feels like the kind of environment you can see yourself thriving in.
Questions to Ask Yourself About a Community’s Culture
- Does the community foster a positive environment?
- Is it obvious that the management and staff care about the residents?
- How much engagement do you see among staff and residents?
- Do they have the kinds of programs, arts, classes and hobbies you enjoy?
- How much of a voice do residents have in the community’s activities and programs?
- Can you start your own group if one doesn’t currently exist?
- Are the residents warm and welcoming?
- Can you see yourself fitting in and making friends?
- Is there a good mix of like-minded individuals and also those with differing views and backgrounds to provide intellectual stimulus?
- Is it the kind of place that provides opportunities for social, mental and physical engagement?
The Fundamentals of a Great Senior Living Culture
Three components are vital to creating a positive environment in any senior living community.
1. Community Management/Leadership
A community’s culture is driven by its leadership. There must be a sense of purpose beyond increasing occupancy. Look for a community where it’s obvious that its leaders value service, compassion, quality, respect, excellence, integrity, dignity, stewardship, passion and innovation. Do they recognize and reward outstanding staff members? Do they listen to and empathize with residents?
2. Staff Members
While leadership may create the vision for the culture, the staff members make it come to life. The best communities are those where the staff members feel more like an extension of your family rather than hired workers.
Senior living culture is nothing without the seniors. Do they embrace the vision of the community’s leaders? Do they have the autonomy to make the community their own? A culture can thrive only if the community members feel it provides a positive environment and want to actively engage with it and with each other.
Finding the Senior Living Community for You
It’s a rare thing when a community, senior living or otherwise, checks all your boxes. And that’s OK, as long as you feel the culture of the place includes the ability to affect change. Of course, if you do find a community with a senior living culture that feels right in every way, take the leap and get involved right away. After all, your new home isn’t just an apartment; it’s the entire community.
We believe North Oaks is that kind of community. Our healthy, inclusive culture makes residents feel secure and appreciated. It adds a sense of permanency and purpose to their lives. We’d love to have you come for a visit, schedule a personal appointment, talk with our residents and staff, and discover for yourself what a difference a positive senior living culture can make in your life.