Category Archives: Skilled Nursing

Focus on Wellness in Senior Living Communities

Senior wellness programs improve quality of life

Wellness, as described by the National Wellness Institute, is an active process through which people make health and lifestyle choices toward a better life. For those who strive to improve their quality of life, they reduce their dependency on others and thrive from care tailored to their unique medical and non-medical needs.

That’s why senior wellness programs, especially in long-term senior living communities, are becoming more popular. Wellness programs offer residents opportunities to be more social, be active and promote a healthy lifestyle within the community for a better quality of life. Wellness programs have been known to help with overall well-being. Issues like depression, reduced mobility, lack of independence, safety concerns, and age-specific health issues can be addressed through senior wellness programs.

Many long-term care senior living facilities are recognizing these benefits and are beginning to offer a variety of wellness programs including nutrition, exercise classes and other mindfulness activities.

Wellness trends in senior living communities

Let’s take a look at the latest wellness trends that long-term care facilities are adding to their communities.

  • Aquatic pools: Swimming is an ideal workout for the elderly, mainly because of low impact exercise has a low risk of injury. Water exercises benefit all muscle groups in the body for a complete workout for seniors. Pools offer excellent walking lanes as well.
  • Therapy pools: Typically, therapy pools offer a warm-water experience and can help with lowering heart rate, blood pressure and stress. Aqua yoga and Pilates classes are hot trends in therapy pools.
  • Open exercise space: Staying active longer in life shows to improve strength, balance and ability to perform activities of daily living and maintain a healthy and long-lived life. Open multipurpose spaces, with hideaway storage for equipment to help reduce clutter can make the environment attractive, yet practical. Group low-impact aerobics, yoga and other classes designed for seniors are ideal to host in this space.
  • Nutrition programs: More long-term care facilities are focusing on nutrition programs as part of their overall commitment to wellness. Multi-purpose spaces are a great area for nutrition classes, where group discussions and education for proper senior nutrition in mind: lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plenty of opportunities for hydration.
  • Meditation rooms: Setting aside places for guided, or self-lead, meditation can help residents focus on mindfulness. A study in Journal of Social Behavior and Personality reportedly found that seniors who practiced meditation had significantly fewer hospitalizations. Other benefits of mindfulness include decreases in physical pain, reduced stress, and increases in relaxation, energy, self-esteem and even cognitive functioning.

Get the local community involved

Wellness programs do not have to be limited to your residents. Opening the space for the public to participate in wellness programs can be a great way for residents in long-term care facilities to help connect with the local community socially. Welcoming the public in this way also introduces your facility to the community so they can get to know you before they need you.

How to start a wellness programs for seniors in long-term care

Preventative programs, like senior wellness programs, are a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle for a better quality of life. Over time, wellness programs will move from a trend to the norm for long-term care senior living facilities. Ask us about how to implement spaces for wellness programs into your current campus or a new facility. Call (920) 969-9344 for a free consultation.

St. Joseph Residence Senior Living Construction Project

Renovations now underway in New London

Community Living Solutions broke ground recently on facility updates to St. Joseph Residence, a senior living community that has served the New London area for 50 years. The senior living construction project involves renovating St. Joseph’s skilled nursing facility and adding a new short-term rehabilitation area.

Project details

The senior living design divides the current facility into smaller communities and provides residents with private rooms and bathrooms. It also features:

  • A 10-bed short-term rehabilitation addition with a new inpatient/outpatient therapy center.
  • A renovated building wing that houses the rehab area with 20 private rooms.
  • A 30-bed long-term care unit. This unit, with a new addition of six beds and a business strategy to downsize the number of licensed beds, will allow the majority of residents to have private rooms.
  • A 6-bed CBRF assisted living memory care addition. This addition, coupled with 18 beds in a renovated area of the existing building, will result in a 24-bed memory care assisted living facility. This allows St. Joseph to meet an unfilled need for dementia and Alzheimer’s care in the community.

In designing the facility, CLS’ goal was to provide residents with a home-like, family atmosphere that would enhance their quality of life.

“This senior living construction project was designed with the future in mind,” said Vice President of Design Duane Helwig. “As baby boomers choose a senior living community for their parents—and eventually for themselves—they will be looking for a facility that offers opportunities for engagement and socialization along with the privacy of their own personal space. We believe we have achieved that for St. Joseph residents and their families.”

Construction is expected to be completed in June 2018.

Are you planning a building renovation or addition?

If you are considering a senior living construction project, such as a building expansion, renovation or campus repositioning, we can help you with every step, include master planning and architectural design. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

Senior Care Technology: The Future is Now

 

Technology for Senior Living Communities

From robots to wearables, senior care technology is evolving before our eyes. While senior living communities struggle with recruiting a quality workforce, these technologies have some promising applications. The use of this technology and the data it gathers could reduce stress on a workforce already spread thin while providing valuable health and wellness information to caregivers.

We wanted to share just a few of the technologies we’ve read about that are already changing the way seniors live.

Health monitoring devices for elderly residents

As technology keeps pace with aging baby boomers, innovators are discovering that developing products specifically for the burgeoning elderly population is lucrative business. In fact, the senior care technology market is now estimated at nearly $280 million. The health monitoring devices already worn by people of all ages are giving way to products that not only monitor an individual’s health but can also collect data on specific conditions to provide life-saving feedback.

Here are just a few of the latest tech trends in health monitoring:

  • Smart clothes that monitor health and prompt medication reminders now make up the largest share of the smart textile industry. It’s expected this industry, which is fast replacing smart watches and other devices, will grow to $843 million by 2021. Among the smart clothes on the market are socks that diabetic patients wear to warn them of a pending risk of foot ulcers.
  • Smart eating utensils and cups now collect data on hand tremors, specifically for those who live with Parkinson’s disease. They also are programmed to remind users to drink plenty of water, for instance.
  • Finally, while many may worry that robots will replace people in jobs (or, in some cases, are replacing), robots may be a welcoming reality in senior care. It’s expected that the 65+ population will increase 181 percent by 2050 while those ages 15 to 65 will increase just 33 percent. That leaves no doubt senior living communities will need to find staffing alternatives. The answer may be robots that measure vital signs, answer basic health questions, send alerts about people who have fallen and provide general assistance to care staff.

Assistive technology for the elderly

Health monitoring devices for elderly residents are also doubling as assistive technology for the elderly.

For example, some smart clothes are equipped with sensors that send a vibration to the blind or visually impaired to warn them of upcoming obstacles—the closer the obstacle, the stronger the vibration. Clothing also can detect imbalance, warning people of a potential fall risk. Some wearables are even equipped with airbags that deploy to cushion a fall, lessening the chance of broken bones.

As seniors move less and have poorer circulation, they often complain of cold hands and feet. Digitsole® is an interactive shoe insole that keeps a person’s feet warm. The temperature can be changed with use of a smartphone app.

Technology exists for ALS and MS patients, whether they are elderly or not, to control lights, TVs, window shades, heat and air conditioning, and more with the blink of their eyes. It’s expected this is the future for assisted living and skilled nursing facilities caring for residents with mobility issues.

And while robots are expected to work side-by-side with caregivers, they are already providing needed mental stimulation to those in long-term care. These social assistive robots interact and communicate with residents, providing therapy, entertainment and companionship.

  • A robotic dog used in a memory care facility in Durham, N.C., brought great relief to residents, increasing their engagement and reducing stress.
  • PARO® has garnered much press in the industry. The adorable baby seal responds to residents who speak and pet the robot.

How to benefit from senior care technology

As tech savvy baby boomers —in relation to their parents—enter senior living communities in coming years, they will expect facilities to be connected for easy access to laptops, mobile devices and cloud-based apps. But, the future of senior living communities also depends on how other technologies can be used to offset labor shortages and improve the bottom line. In fact, many of the technologies discussed may open the door to new opportunities to differentiate yourself and add a new revenue stream by offering services to the greater community outside your doors.

If you are looking to update your facility to accommodate new technologies or if you’d like to build a new technologically advanced community, contact us for a free consultation. Or, call Terry McLaughlin at 920-969-9344.

How to Improve Caregiver Recruitment

Tips to find and retain quality healthcare staff

If there is one issue top of mind for senior living facility leaders, it’s finding and hiring qualified staff. The tight healthcare labor market, felt especially hard in rural areas, leaves senior living facilities struggling to find caregivers for their residents.

Unfortunately, caregiver recruitment is not an issue that will be solved anytime soon. According to the federal Administration for Community Living, the number of U.S. senior citizens is expected to more than double by 2060. The phenomenon even has a name—the “silver tsunami.” With that burgeoning population, we’ll need more caregivers than ever.

Wisconsin comes to aid in healthcare staffing

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker heard the plea from senior living leaders and other healthcare organizations and launched in March 2017 the Wisconsin Fast Forward training grant for healthcare. This healthcare workforce program provides $3 million in grant funding to train workers in health science, healthcare and other similar positions. The grant announcement was made at River Pines, a Grace Lutheran senior community in Altoona, Wis., which opened in 2016 with a person-centered household design completed by Community Living Solutions. River Pines has been lauded for its living and work environment, as well as its unique approach to resident care.

While the grants will be an enormous help to those who apply for and receive them, shortages of caregiver candidates will remain.

How to recruit CNAs and other caregivers in today’s market

Many of the traditional recruitment efforts—online job postings, job fairs, employee referrals, open houses—all have a place in your healthcare recruitment strategy for CNAs, nurses and other caregivers. But, in today’s job market, it’s just as important for you to be connected as it is for job candidates.

Making connections on social networks, especially LinkedIn®; developing relationships with local schools; and asking employees to talk about job opportunities wherever and whenever possible will all extend your reach beyond traditional recruitment practices.

Some senior living facilities are finding success in rather unique ways; hiring candidates to fill in for roles as needed within the facility, rather than taking a permanent position. After about the first year, the employee may then settle into a desired role, where they are more likely to remain rather than finding employment elsewhere. Likewise, other facilities have tapped skilled talent who are not currently in the labor market, perhaps stay-at-home moms, retirees or students, who can work part time as needed.

How to recruit millennials

Creative tactics also are needed when attracting millennials, the generation that makes up the largest portion of today’s workforce.

Three things are important to millennials as they search for their next employer:

  1. Use of technology
  2. A sense of purpose
  3. A desire to advance in their career

Technology: As part of your recruitment efforts, show millennials how you are using technology at your facility. Whether the technology is used to make your facility more efficient or whether you offer activities that teach residents about the latest tech gadgets, millennials will appreciate—and expect—the use of technology in your community. At River Pines, for example, the technology that supports caregivers gives them more time to do what they love—interact with residents.

Sense of purpose: It may go without saying that a senior living community has a huge sense of purpose. Millennials want to see you live that purpose, as well as your company values, day in and day out. Let your purpose and values shine during each step of the recruitment process.

Career advancement: Millennials want to be future leaders. As part of recruitment, have them talk to staff members who advanced in their careers while at your facility. Millennials want to know they will be supported in professional development and in creating a career path.

River Pines is a great example of how design and facility amenities for residents also serve as amenities sought after by caregiver candidates. River Pines is spacious, bright, airy, and most of all, home-like. Residents and staff have access to technology, the outdoors and relaxing multi-purpose areas. They call it concierge care.

 

Shortages in caregiver staffing are expected to remain with us for many years to come. By setting yourself apart from your competitors in recruitment efforts, you’ll have greater success in recruiting and retaining qualified candidates.

If you are interested in learning more about senior living architecture and construction or issues facing senior living facilities, read our blogs.

Baby Boomers Driving Senior Living Trends

See what baby boomers desire in retirement living

If you take a close look, trends influenced by the baby-boom generation are all around us. Whether due to their generational likes and dislikes or due to the sheer number of boomers, they’ve had a significant influence on all of our lives. And now, as they enter retirement, they’re leveraging that same influence on senior living trends.

What to know about baby boomers retiring

There are more than 76 million baby boomers in the United States, putting us on the cusp of an exploding population of retirees. By 2060, the United States is likely to have more than 98 million people aged 65 or older. Baby boomers, who in 2017 will range in age from 52 to 71, are likely starting to make decisions about senior living with or on behalf of their parents. The oldest boomers may even be looking at senior living options for themselves.

How senior care industry trends will be shaped by boomers

Baby boomers have never quite been like their parents, and the way they will retire is likely no different. To their parents, “aging in place” is of utmost importance. The silent generation craves familiarity—in their home in which they raised their children and in their neighborhood. Ninety percent say they want to stay put. That’s not necessarily the case for boomers.

Boomers say they are okay with leaving their home—aging in place isn’t necessarily a top priority. But, they have strong opinions on how and where they will live out their retirement years, and in many cases, they bring these opinions to the table when searching for a senior living community for their parents.

Much of what baby boomers will demand in retirement and in senior living has to do with how they lived. Because they’ve enjoyed, as a group, a relatively large amount of discretionary income, they are used to having what they want when they want it. In other words, they have had the luxury of making lifestyle choices that they will take with them into retirement. And what’s more, lifestyle choices will drive them to senior living communities, unlike their parents, who, in most cases, enter a senior living community due to medical concerns.

So, what can we expect from baby boomers as they search for the perfect senior living community?

  • They’ll look for personalized options, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Senior living communities will need to offer plenty of programming options and facility amenities, including the latest technology, to meet their diverse needs. Not only that, tomorrow’s seniors will want amenities like fitness gyms and spas to be located closer to the entrance with the hope the amenities can be shared with community members.
  • They will favor senior living communities that are more urban and close to community amenities. Think high-rise communities versus communities located in the suburbs.
  • They will insist on personal privacy, and not only that, they also will want space—large living areas with multiple rooms and large bathrooms.
  • They will want immediate access to doctors, psychiatrists, counselors and other medical professionals.
  • They’ll want to entertain, whether in a multipurpose space or on an outdoor terrace. They’ll look for a neighborhood feel and multigenerational interactions.
Preparing for baby boomer housing trends

As baby boomers prepare for retirement, they look forward to moving on, as long as it’s to something better. Are you prepared for the influx of baby boomers? Ask us about how to implement these senior living trends into your current campus or a new facility.

Contact us or call 920-969-9344 to learn more.