With the ongoing pandemic, we understand that finding a safe and engaging living community presents ongoing challenges for families with older adults. We recently spent time visiting with Lori Kennedy, executive director of The Vantage at Cityview, to talk about the factors that constitute a healthy community and the process for finding the right place for loved ones.
When teams approach their work compassion for the community residents, their actions naturally create a positive atmosphere.
“I came to the senior care industry years ago to fill a gap that was missing in my family,” shared Lori, who has served the senior living industry for 32 years.
Her motivation for work continues to evolve as Lori believes serving senior citizens is her calling and purpose. She credits residents sharing personal stories and life lessons as her source of inspiration.
Lori said: “Our team bonds with our residents and I love when my team shares a lesson with me from one of our residents. These lessons and stories enrich our lives and brings joy to the residents, as it also gives them a sense of purpose. I also believe it is important to share our residents’ knowledge with my children.”
In the senior care industry, staying positive and motivated is essential for maintaining a positive environment for the community and team members. Lori’s approach to maintaining an upbeat attitude focuses on the little things.
“I enjoy coming to work every day knowing that even the smallest or simplest things I do can make a huge impact on the residents, their families and my team members,” she said. “I tell visiting families, ‘The most important thing we do is take care of the people most important in your world.’”
The pandemic, combined with the shelter-in-place order, presented challenges never before experienced by Lori and her team. Almost overnight, they had to develop strategies for managing the new norm for caring for residents and implementing the company’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. The little things and daily tasks the team performed for the residents took on a deeper meaning.
“My team personally walked with over 200 residents for an exercise break from their rooms. Everyone spent extra time running errands, delivering meals three times a day and ensuring all the residents had what they needed,” she said.
Lori also moved to the community for several weeks to care for community residents.
“I fell in love with my purpose all over again; my team shared with me that they feel the same way. All of our lives became intertwined beyond words. We needed them as much as they needed us,” she shared.
The pandemic continues to change the senior living industry and finding the right community is essential. When families visit a community, Lori offers this advice: “I tell families to visit communities as many times as possible instead of once or twice. Talk with the residents. Check to see if they are smiling and the staff. A person can feel the moment you enter the lobby the ‘life’ of the community.”
The Engagement team understands that senior living communities offer the same services. To differentiate The Arbor Company, the team is committed to going above and beyond by taking time to add little touches to create a family environment that transforms the community into a home for its residents.
“You can teach people to physically care for someone, but teaching the person to care about the individual is a trait or gift a person must have internally,” Lori added.
Searching for a community for family members can feel like an overwhelming task, especially today. Lori says developing a search plan is essential.
“When friends or neighbors ask for advice, I suggest they talk with friends, co-workers and people they know for referrals and feedback,” she offered. “Friends or co-workers who have family members in a community will tell you the nitty gritty about the place. The right community should feel like home to a family member, a warm inviting place.”
The team’s compassion for its residents naturally creates a positive atmosphere.
“Our people are the key factor that separates us from other communities. We are committed to working together with our residents, families and team members. We do our best to communicate our approach and then hold ourselves accountable,” she said. “With everything happening today, I make sure our team gives each other grace when a mistake occurs. We regroup, and move forward.”
Lori noted that it’s important for the residents and families of Arbor Terrace Cityview to trust the staff.
“We honor their trust by making sure the quality of care given is the same care we would provide our family members. After all, the community is our family, too.”
To learn more about finding a safe and comfortable living community, please download the e-book below.