Category Archives: CBRF

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.

Memory Care Facility Design

New ways for caring for someone with dementia

There has been a boom in the construction of senior memory care facilities in recent years, and one of the primary drivers is the increase in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

As the United States population ages, the number of people suffering from memory loss will grow. It’s estimated that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men who live past age 55 will develop some form of dementia during their lifetime.

Of all the different forms of dementia in seniors, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, making up about 70 percent of elderly dementia cases. Approximately 5.2 million Americans age 65 and older have it, and as seniors reach the age of 85, between 25 and 50 percent of people will show signs of the disease.

This data shows that caring for someone with dementia in a specialized memory care facility is not just becoming more common, but is a necessity. Thoughtful memory care facility design and programs can greatly improve the quality of life for those living with memory loss.

Considerations for memory care facility design

Because of the special challenges that residents living with memory loss can face, memory care facilities should be designed a little differently than other senior care centers.

  • People living with memory loss have a tendency to wander. Rather than confine them to a small area of a memory care facility, provide ample space for them to roam with no confusing dead-end hallways. A courtyard and common areas in the middle of a facility give residents plenty of space to wander around while meeting and interacting with others.
  • Another feature that is becoming more popular is a life skill station. These interactive tools replicate everyday functions, such as putting away dishes, checking the mail, holding and caring for a doll, creating art, and other hobbies and activities. These stations jumps-start residents’ memories, getting them interested and active.

Dementia care facilities can reignite memories by engaging the senses

Many different sensory functions can trigger a memory in those dealing with dementia. The right sounds and colors can have a profound impact on residents’ daily quality of life.

  • In a facility for Alzheimer’s patients and others living with memory loss, themed areas can trigger memories for residents. These themes can have their own color scheme and décor, giving residents a certain feeling when they visit these areas. For example, an ocean-themed wing may use varying shades of blue and have artwork and photos on the wall depicting water scenes. These areas can also have customized flooring appropriate to the theme.
  • Implementing sensory stimulation has positive effects when caring for someone with memory loss. Several years ago, a study showed that brightly colored fish helped curtail disruptive behaviors and improved the eating habits of residents with dementia. Another form of sensory therapy involves Snoezelen, or a controlled multisensory environment (MSE). These rooms allow residents to control their own therapy through light, sounds, textures and smells that help them relax and feel a sense of control.
  • A Dutch company developed stickers that transform a plain room door to a door that replicates a door from the residents’ past. The result is a bit of nostalgia that comforts those living with memory loss.

Comfortably caring for residents with memory loss

Any memory care facility design should look and feel like a home. Using the right colors, patterns and furnishings makes it feel warm, welcome and comforting, putting residents instantly at ease. A good rule is to ask yourself if you’d enjoy the colors and furnishings in your own home. If so, it’s likely to be well received by other residents.

If you’re looking to deliver the best in memory care facilities, contact Community Living Solutions. We can work with you to design a successful memory care unit or facility. Contact Terry McLaughlin, or call 920-969-9344 to discuss plans.