“Resident happiness is key to your community’s success. Do you know what residents say contributes most to their happiness?”
By: Dr. Cindy Phillips | K4Advisors Managing Partner, K4Connect
November 15, 2021
For decades, most senior living communities have conducted resident satisfaction surveys. And for decades, the leaders in those communities have worked diligently to digest and plan initiatives to improve their scores. I was one of those leaders, and it proved difficult to move the needle on results.
After reviewing the results from our recent resident survey (administered via the K4Community App), I think you might be surprised by the gap uncovered in what residents say, “makes them happy”, and what the staff shared “they are doing” to drive resident satisfaction. It might be time to change some of your strategies to match the most important drivers of resident happiness. Let’s dig into the details.
The good news first – the majority of residents polled (89%) believe their community “cares about my happiness.” An excellent reflection on the industry’s service mindset! The surprise findings reveal an apparent disconnect in knowing what the highest contributors to that happiness are.
Our survey’s top 3 contributors to happiness from resident respondents:
- Clean living environment (86% said this greatly/strongly contributes)
- Feeling safe (86% of residents said this greatly/strongly contributes)
- Having friends/connection with others (84% said this greatly/strongly contributes
Our survey’s top 3 things community staff is doing to contribute to resident satisfaction:
- Meeting with residents, encourage their input/feedback – 47%
- Having good community activities/events – 25%
- Increasing resident interaction with staff/Making staff available for residents – 18%
It should concern us that nothing matched in the top 3 of the two groups. Actually, not one community staff listed “clean living environment” or “feeling safe” as drivers of resident happiness. One could argue that these two go without saying in senior living, or that COVID-19 has brought these to the forefront. Whatever the reason, they remind us of what is top of mind right now for community residents.
But an even more subtle (but extremely important) disconnect is around the social component of resident happiness. Our resident respondents ranked “having friends/connection with others” as their highest social driver of happiness (86% more residents indicated this is a stronger contributor than “Being involved in my community”.)
In my mind, this isn’t about the number of activities, nor the interaction with staff (both in the staff top three). This important component of resident happiness is about personal connection with others (maybe just one). It can happen at an event, but it is more likely to happen with a more intentional approach.
I believe the message in this data is for communities to make it their primary goal to foster these connections. Look for more opportunities, not just with activities or events, but across every resident experience (sales, dining, volunteering, spiritual services, etc.), to facilitate these relationships. Think of yourselves as match-makers!
If you want to learn about more about what makes residents happy, check out our Fall 2021 Insights Report.