We’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s easier and less expensive to keep the residents you have than acquire new ones.” In fact, resident retention activities are one of the most important marketing strategies that senior living providers should incorporate into their marketing plan. Here are some simple resident retention ideas that you can implement at your community this holiday season to drive satisfaction and help increase retention.
Send Your Residents a Holiday Card in the Mail
Have you ever noticed how popular the mailman is? Residents love getting mail and the holidays are the perfect time to ensure that they receive something that is both uplifting and positive. Be sure to include all of the community staff by having a card signing party and encourage your team to include a personalized note.
Deliver a Special Treat to Their Door
As an Executive Director or member of the sales team, the holidays are the perfect time for you to step away from your desk and spend some one-on-one time with each resident. Have the chef bake some cookies, make a stocking with each resident’s name, or buy each resident a poinsettia and deliver them personally to their door. While you are there, be sure to sit down for five minutes and ask them how they are doing. This is also a great opportunity to gather their feedback on what you and your team can do to make their holiday even more enjoyable.
Add Some Holiday Spirit to Regular Recurring Activities
You can make a big impact by adding a little holiday cheer to your regular activities. For example, you can turn bingo into a holiday event by renaming the cards or using holiday stamps. Many sites like A Bird and A Bean offer free downloads of Holiday Bingo cards. You can also organize a craft project to make decorations for the tree. If you need inspiration, check out our craft ideas here! No matter the holiday-themed activity, make sure to incorporate special dishes or treats.
Have a Contest for Your Staff to Add Holiday Fun to Their Wardrobe
Something as simple as a flashing reindeer necklace, holiday chef hat, or ugly holiday sweater can really help boost spirits during the holidays and can be a great conversation piece between caregivers and residents. Make sure to have ballots ready so everyone can cast their vote for the winner.
Feature a Resident Holiday Tradition
Almost every family has holiday traditions in the kitchen. Perhaps it is baking a secret family cookie recipe, preparing a special side dish, or wearing a cherished holiday apron. Ask residents what special traditions they cooked in their home and invite them to participate in preparing that dish for your residents. Be sure to use their secret recipe!
Incorporate Spiritual Traditions
Spiritual traditions are just as important as family ones. Take the time to learn what spiritual traditions your residents enjoyed in the past and try to find a way to help incorporate those traditions during the holidays. Some residents may not attend church or synagogue regularly throughout the year, but the holidays may be especially important to them. Help to arrange transportation and remind families that their loved ones may want to attend services with them. For services that you host at the community, hire a professional musician or contact your local church to see if they can assist with organizing musicians or a choir for a special service.
Adopt a Resident
During the holidays, you can find civic groups or organizations to adopt residents who do not have family nearby and provide them gifts. Sometimes, however, the gift of time is the best gift of all. Ask your local civic organizations and groups if they have any volunteers who would like to attend your holiday party. Then match them up with residents whose family cannot attend the holiday party. Ensuring every resident has someone to personally connect with during the party will help make sure nobody feels left out and encourage residents without family to attend.
Provide Opportunities to Give Back
Some of the most memorable holidays are when we have the opportunity to give back and do something that will impact the lives of others. It is important that residents have the opportunity to fulfill their need to help others during the holidays. Consider forming a group to knit hats for the local cancer hospital, write letters to our troops, adopt a foster child through a local organization, contact your local United Way, Rotary Club, or other organization hosting a toy drive. Offer to wrap presents for the drive and serve as the location where toys are organized and distributed.
Resident appreciation and retention programs are fun for your whole team, and the more creative you get with it, the more memorable they become. The holidays are a great opportunity to give back to your residents and an even better opportunity to recognize all of the wonderful residents and staff you have in your community.
How are you celebrating your residents this holiday season?