The senior housing market is changing considerably. That’s according to research on Boomers by designers, architects, remodelers and homebuilders surveyed by The National Association of Home Builders. More than 77 million adults in their 50s and 60s represent 26% of the total U.S. population and hold the largest amount of discretionary income. This generation also is the country’s largest number of homeowners. Boomers are different and have always been vocal about what they want. In a few words, they are looking for comfort and convenience, and spaces for relaxation and entertainment. Whether Boomers are remodeling or building new retirement homes, they are more sophisticated, savvy and active, and they want lots of options and choices in their home designs. They have their own ideas about the features and types of homes they want to live in. Just as they are known for dictating personal choices throughout their lives, this group of Boomers wants to imprint their individualized ways as they move into the next stage of their lives. They are demanding a mentally stimulating and interactive environment both inside and outside their retirement communities. Top of the list in the new scenario is a series of “must-haves” built around holistic wellness. The majority prefer a location near a park where they can jog or walk. About half prefer having a pool nearby. Probably more important is a fitness center in a retirement community. They want amenities that promote physical activity. Surprisingly not as important is proximity to a medical center or to public transportation. A combination of mind and body offerings is high on their list. They want on-site fitness, community spaces that support social exchanges, programs as well as space for continued learning. They seek views and access to nearby natural environments. Recognizing their growing and potential physical limitations, they prefer a single-story home rather than multiple floors. Other features are low maintenance yards, energy-efficient appliances, large windows, home office space and media centers with plenty of room for computer equipment. The research says that they are more likely to select a house based on lower maintenance requirements and the desire to live in a well-maintained community. Retirement community providers need to understand that overall Boomers want a positive retirement living experience based on exceptional community design that fits their level of personal needs.
In many relationships, there finally comes a time to break up. You’ve tried to make it work because you’ve invested a lot in the relationship, but it’s just not working. Even though it’s hard and you can’t quite think of the future without the other party, you know it has to end. It’s not you, it’s them! CRMs (client relationship mangers) are supposed to be your partner in success. But in the last few years, more and more communities and healthcare services companies are coming to the conclusion that their old CRM is no longer on their side. It’s a painful reality – especially when it leaves you feeling lost for options. But I would suggest “the Right One” is out there for you (more on that later). How do you know it’s time to break up? Here are three signs it’s time to break up with your old CRM: 1. It’s not doing anything for you. You entered this relationship with the understanding that your CRM was going to contribute to your success. Unfortunately, old style CRMs are no more than electronic rolodexes. They only house your contact info and notes that you take the trouble of putting in there, but they don’t do anything to move your sales process forward to get you more business. They don’t help you get more sales. That’s why we lovingly call CRMs Client Relationship Mazes – it’s where your clients go in, but they never make it out. Other than serving as a big brother tracking tool that your sales team resents, your CRM doesn’t help you generate more revenue or Residents. Whatever happened to being your partner in success? 2. It’s hurting your team. The rest of the family is suffering because of your relationship with your old style CRM. If you mention your CRM to your marketing/sales team, and they groan, you know it’s an albatross to them. Besides not doing anything for them, it’s actually hurting them. IF they are using it (big IF), it just creates more work for them. It is draining their time to jump through hoops to keep it updated. It doesn’t help them, suggest next steps or even provide them with resources they need to be more successful. They still need to keep outside spreadsheets, manila folders, manual checklists and communication tools to help do their job, and that just adds to their workload. No wonder they groan when you mention the name. 3. It’s costing you money. Let’s figure out how much money your relationship with your old CRM is costing you. Not only are you paying for outdated CRM, but now you need to pay extra for a reporting module (that may or not be accurate), an email campaign system, an internet marketing system or tool or person, and a social media posting tool (or person). And then there’s your time. There’s the time you spend updating spreadsheets, re-keying your website leads and re-keying info between all your systems. Did you just hear a “cha-ching”? Then on top of all that, there are the lost Leads, sales opportunities, and upsells that have fallen through the cracks because of follow up failure. Entering a relationship with CRM was supposed to be a beautiful thing – even a smart decision. But staying with the old, wrong CRM can be worse than not having one. At this point, the decision to break up with your old CRM is the best one you can make. And I’m happy to share with you that “the Right One” is out there. It’s smart, it’s simple and it’s ingenious. It’s modern, it takes advantage of internet marketing technology and it has a great track record of more than doubling Inquiry to Resident/Patient/Client Conversion Rates. Let’s go out for coffee together. We may discover we have a future together. Mona G. Hilton is the CEO of OccupancyAdvantage.com.
Have you ever started eating something, taken a couple of bites, then noticed all that was left was an empty bag? Or perhaps you’ve been at a great party but instead of enjoying it, all you can think about is tomorrow’s to-do lists. To be sure, we are often not present in our own lives. We often fail to notice what’s going on around us, and moreover, the blessings and positive things in our lives. While juggling work, home, finances, and countless other demands, it’s all too easy to lose awareness of the present moment. However, tuning into the now, or more precisely, being mindful can provide several benefits—from increased tolerance to increased relationship satisfaction. According to Psychology Today, mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment. When you are mindful, you are less likely to get distracted and wish for things to be different, and you can therefore enjoy your life more fully. How to be Mindful So, how do you actually practice mindfulness? There are many different basic techniques, but you can simply try implementing a few simple strategies into your daily routine. Here are just a few ideas: Smile the second you wake up. There’s scientific proof that your facial expressions can actually influence how you feel. So, set the tone of appreciation and awareness for the next 24 hours by simply waking up and smiling. Don’t wake up with a groan and smash that alarm clock! Clean out your closet. Sounds silly, but it works. Physical clutter can lead to mental clutter. A clean and organized house can help you feel a sense of calm. Acknowledge anxiety, then let it go. Negative thoughts will always creep up, and that’s ok. But holding on to anxiety and worry is not healthy. The next time you feel anxious, acknowledge it, then simply say to yourself, “This is me worrying, but now I’m going to let it go.” Set goals for the future, but work hard today. Big dreams and goals are motivating, but it’s important to focus on what you can do in the moment. Nothing will help you achieve your goals faster than doing the best you can do today. Take 60 seconds to notice and appreciate anything beautiful. Take notice of the beauty that surrounds you—a baby, a painting, a magnificent building, etc. If you are interested in pursuing mindfulness within a particular tradition, (i.e., Buddhist) you might want to seek a meditation instructor or take a class at a meditation center. “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” ―Bill Watterson
The Annual Meeting and Exhibition of LSN - Learning Services Network - will convene between April 30 to May 2, 2014 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. The theme for this year's meeting is 'Learn. Connect. Discover." Keynotes Address: Gary Adamson, Chief Experience Officer, Starizon Studio - Exploring the Experience Economy: Discoveries and Lessons About a New Center of the Business Universe Mary Jane Mapes, CSP, President, The Aligned Leader Institute - You Can Teach a P.I.G. to Sing: Maximize Your Influence, Your Relationships, and Your Life Over 150 educational sessions offering ideas and solutions that you can implement with confidence and success! Continuing Education Credits are available for a variety of professionals. Over 3000 senior living industry professions will be at LSN! LSN Annual Meeting and Exhibition
The baby boomer generation is aging, and with that comes concerns from their adult children. How do you know when your parents need some help? Here are some signs that might mean it's time to consider a home care service for your parent(s). If you see any of these signs, you'll also want to speak to your parent's physician, as some of them can indicate depression, dementia, or other health problems that need to be addressed. Decline in Housekeeping If your parents have always kept their home clean and neat, and you begin to see piles of newspapers, dirty laundry scattered around, signs of pest infestation, or just usual clutter, it could mean he/she is having trouble getting housework done and could use some help with everyday chores. Decline in Grooming Wearing dirty clothes, not washing hair, unbrushed teeth or other declines in personal grooming are a warning sign you should pay attention to. Many older adults are afraid of falling in the tub, others may be suffering from pain that makes daily self-care difficult, and still others may not be able to see or smell well enough to recognize poor grooming. All can indicate they may need some help. You're Worried About Safety Worrying about your parent's ability to perform everyday tasks safely is a major indicator that some help at home might be needed. Whether you're worried about slips and falls, safety while driving, ability to prepare meals without starting a fire, or ability to read prescription medication bottles, if you're at all worried about your mom or dad's safety, get in touch with a home care agency and your parent's physician. Change in Diet Old age can bring changes in diet, and those are not nessasirly a problem. If, however, you have a parent who has always prepared his or her own home-cooked meals and suddenly starts living off TV dinners or takeout, you'll want to find out why. It could be related to fears of forgetting something on the stove, age-related loss of taste and smell, or even depression. Some help with cooking can help ensure your mom and/or dad gets the nutrition they need. Other Signs of Trouble Finally, you'll want to watch for other signs of trouble. Scorched pots and pans, for example, could mean forgetting things on the stove. Loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities can signal depression or other health problems, items piled around the home present fall risks, and "wall walking" or moving from one piece of furniture to another while walking could mean your parent feels unstable on his or her feet and might need an assistive device. Final Thoughts Talking to your parents about home care may not be easy, but these services can prevent severe injuries or even death due to falls or other easily-avoided issues. If you or a loved one needs help please give us a call. We would love to come and talk to your parents about our in-home care services that can help them maintain their independence and quality of life.
Every year, approximately 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke. It is the No. 4 cause of death in the United States and also one of the leading causes of long-term, severe disability. But, knowing the signs of a stroke and getting quick treatment can reduce the effects in many cases. Especially from ischemic stroke, which accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases. Learning what to watch for and getting treatment fast is important. Those who take a clot-busting drug within three hours of the first stroke symptoms can reduce long-term disability from occurring. Ischemic strokes, the most common, happen when an obstruction occurs within a blood vessel that provides blood to the brain. The obstruction is caused by the development of fatty deposits that line the walls of the blood vessel. This condition is called atherosclerosis and can cause two types of obstructions. Cerebral thrombosis - this is a blood clot that develops at a clogged part of a blood vessel. Cerebral embolism - this occurs when a blood clot breaks loose from another part of the body, usually the heart, and clogs a smaller vessel in the brain. There are other, less common, types of strokes also. A hemorrhagic stroke can occur when a weakened blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain. A transient ischemic attack or TIA is a temporary blockage or “mini stroke”. While it does not cause any permanent brain damage, it shouldn’t be ignored as it is usually a sign of bigger problems and risks down the line. The National Stroke Association recommends that you remember F.A.S.T. as an easy way to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. These stand for: F - Face: Is there drooping of the face on one side? Ask the person to smile. A - Arms: Weakness in one arm occurs. Ask the person to lift both arms. Does one arm drift? S - Speech: Is their speech slurred or strange? Ask the person to say a simple phrase. T - Time: If these signs are present, it’s time to call 911. These are just three of the major symptoms that a stroke is happening. But these are not the only symptoms of a stroke. These other signs of stroke include: Sudden weakness or numbness in your legs, arms, or face Sudden confusion or trouble understanding things Sudden trouble with sight of one or both eyes, blurring or double vision Sudden trouble with walking, a loss of coordination or balance, and dizziness Sudden severe headache with no known cause While the symptoms of a stroke may not seem serious when they occur, they should not be ignored. Many people don’t want to be a bother and often brush off the symptoms as not serious. However, with time being of the essence in rapid treatment, it is important to act quickly to prevent serious damage or death.
Your eyes are one of the most remarkable and complex organs ever created. To this day, medical science can’t really explain exactly how they work; but through optic nerves, retina and pupil, the eyes transmit light to the brain which converts all those signals into pictures and movement. So although we need our eyes to see through, it is actually our brain that determines what we see and perceive. Our brain actually perceives shapes and colors, and processes that information to determine good or bad, red or blue. Our brain makes judgments and decisions about how we will respond to those images sent from our eyes. You see through your eyes, but not with them. WE determine how we will perceive and respond to what we see. So it is with our lives. Life happens around us, but WE determine how we will perceive those things and respond to what is happening. Let’s bring that closer to home – senior living. As leaders, we can see the economy and decide that it is still faltering, or we can see niche opportunities buried someplace inside it. We can see that seniors don’t have the retirement incomes that they had planned on, or we can uncover creative ways to find them money or make your solution more affordable. We can see new competition breathing down our neck, or we can look differently at the situation and find ways to differentiate our communities’, services and culture to give us a competitive advantage. That’s what some of our most successful clients have done and continue to do. It’s not the situation we find ourselves in, it’s our perception and perspective that determines what we see and how we handle the information presented to us. You already know that some of the most successful organizations were started in a recession or depression or under great challenge. Some of the best inventions in history were designed to solve challenges of the day. Success requires a different perspective and a creative solution to a problem that others can’t or won’t see. That’s what separates mediocre managers from great leaders. Are you faced with challenges? How can you look anew at your circumstances? What challenges are you faced with in your communities or your life? Step back for a bit and look at it like an outsider. What opportunities are hidden like little gems in your challenge? Don’t be limited by what you see with your eyes, past experience or messages you’ve been told. Give yourself permission to set aside what you see…relax, remove limiting beliefs, think creatively and develop ideas and solutions that will change your community, or maybe even your industry! Here’s to your success as a leader!
I've received a series of e-mails from the daughter of a couple who live in a beautifully decorated “upscale” community. She wrote asking for help to improve dining in the community her parents pay to live in: "My mother and father are residents of a CCFT. Mother is in independent living and my father is in assisted living. They dine together in the community dining room. They are both private pay with the total out-of-pocket cost for both of them around $90,000+ per year. The food service and food quality is poor and deteriorating despite promises from management. We need help in determining how to draft a strategy for making the dining experience pleasant, tasty and nutritional. My father has lost 10 pounds in the past year and my mother, who requires a more bland diet, often goes without eating. Meals should be the highlight of the day—something to look forward to rather than the source of extreme dissatisfaction." Sadly, I hear stories like this frequently. All too often, senior care communities spend their resources on decor, but neglect the most pressing needs of residents: Food choices that meet residents’ needs and expectations Warm, friendly service that builds community and helps residents’ feel a sense of belonging Between the two, good service is the most important. As veteran Chicago restaurateur Doug Roth says, “Good service can save a bad meal, but a good meal cannot save bad service.” Instruction in service basics, geared toward strengthening staff knowledge, confidence, and communication skills, can impact the collective psyche of an entire community, quickly and fundamentally. It is time providers recognize nutritious food and customer service should be on the menu at every meal. Hospitality can turn the dining experience at retirement communities into a major company asset. About the Author Cindy Heilman, MS, DTR has over 30 years of experience enhancing hospitality and food service quality. She is CEO of Higher Standards, LLC, author of Hospitality for Boomers: How to attract residents, retain staff, and maximize profitability, and creator of Kind Dining®
Technology is easier to use than ever before. Tablets and touch screen monitors have forever changed the way we interact with technology, making the experience much more accessible and accommodating for new users. Tablets and touch screens can be used by anyone, including older adults living with dementia, mobility and dexterity issues, and other common disabilities, like vision impairments. Everybody – with guidance, support, and a willingness to learn – can find great value in touch technologies and the Internet. Tablets are the easiest device for beginners. Older adults without previous computer experience can begin by playing online games, asking Google to find information using a “voice search” command, or zooming in on their home town map - in only a few minutes. Tablets simplify accessing the Internet with their light weight and intuitive design, opening the gateway to amazing user possibilities. The primary reason tablet computers are so helpful for seniors is due to their user-friendly controls. Unlike a computer or laptop, a tablet’s touchscreen interface only needs one finger for basic control. Even those with shaky grips or limited dexterity can still accurately touch the screen by implementing a stylus pen. A huge benefit of having access to tablets and the Internet is free entertainment. Many complimentary games are available on tablets to stimulate the player’s mind, including puzzles, word games, memory games, and sports games, like golf. These games are often considered to assist in brain fitness. They push players to think, be creative, solve problems, and complete tasks. Games can be great fun as a viable means of escapism, which we all occasionally need. The look on someone's face driving a virtual race car at a hundred miles an hour is priceless :) Another popular use for tablets is watching online videos, through“apps” like YouTube. Users can call up videos of anything they want ... from live music concerts and old television shows, to knitting instructions and documentaries about World War II. There are online videos on just about everything for all to enjoy. It may not be possible for some individuals with dementia to remember all the steps in operating tablets. It’s suggested that someone stay close to act as a technology coach. New learners will feel they are positively progressing, instead of forgetting what to do next, or accidentally tapping on an in-app advertisement, which can happen to the best of us. Having a guide to answer questions, or set up activities or games, motivates seniors to try new things that could make them uncomfortable on their own. Often, quick reminders of the simple controls helps users with dementia progress and overcome small hurdles in seconds, which positively reinforces their own accomplishments too!
‘Joie de Vivre’ or the ‘Joy of Life’ is something that takes on a whole new meaning when you retire. This is particularly true if you retire by the beach to enjoy a laidback lifestyle with plenty of excitement. If you think life after retirement means spending long days sitting indoors parked in front of the TV, or pottering in the garden waiting for flowers to bloom, then you are quite mistaken. If you are on the lookout for more excitement, and plenty of fun in the sun, sand, and surf, then retirement destinations by the beach is for you. Be it in your home country, or in lands far away, a coastal setting offers an idyllic getaway to enjoy a carefree lifestyle, spending days soaking up the sun, engaging in thrilling water sports, and taking in heavenly sunsets. It's a life full of possibilities and new adventures that offers the chance to make new friends, or spend quality time with that special someone, sharing in the joy of life. While the beach may be just a “beach” to some, each coastal destination offers a truly unique experience. In the Caribbean, the island of Ambergris Caye in Belize is an ideal option. Fans of ‘Temptation Island’ know the picturesque isle was used as a location for two seasons of the reality TV show. Look forward to plenty of beach side areas to enjoy life by the sea. Discover the second longest barrier reef in the world within easy reach, offering plenty of diving and snorkeling. Spain's Costa del Sol is another top destinations to retire by the beach. The seemingly never-ending Andalucian coastline offers spots of sublime seclusion by the sea, perfect for those looking to get away from it all. Amid these tranquil beaches, there are captivating villages and towns, adding to the charm of the region’s sun drenched shoreline. Asia also offers enchanting beach destinations for retirement exotic flair. Vietnam's Hoi An makes a good spot for retirement. This busy seaport is well known for its pristine beaches. For a break, explore the town to find ancient buildings and Chinese temples which provide rich cultural insights. Consider Thailand's Phuket, a beach destination surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. This magical island is set in golden shores, lush greenery, and awe-inspiring rocky headlands. There is a large retirement community here where one can find like-minded individuals and couples looking to share in new adventures. Sri Lanka is known for its golden coastlines and famed for its rich culture and cuisine. It offers several beach locales well suited for those interested in active retirement living. Consider staying at the retirement village of Heritage Grove in Negombo, along the island’s West Coast, with its soft sandy beaches in a tropical paradise.
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