This series features insights on developing a robust wellness-based lifestyle at your community. Some content will cover practical tips and some will identify barriers to achieving success meant to spark conversation within your community. In part 1, I talked about defining wellness and the importance of how you use that word in branding. Read on for part 2.
Staff who work in senior living communities are some of the most compassionate, dedicated, and often creative people you will meet. Their plates are full, their to-do lists are long, and it can be a heavy lift to bring down the silos between departments, which is necessary to truly cultivate balanced lifestyle offerings for residents.
The problem is not that the staff are resistant to meeting with other stakeholders in resident well-being, having more dialogue, or planning differently. (Notice here I said planning differently—not planning more. That is the key to this approach.) It’s that there is often a missing link in bringing these different people, talents, and departments together in a sustainable fashion.
Identify a Wellness Champion
This is where it is critical that communities identify their wellness champion. This person can act as a catalyst in eliminating the silos and bringing everyone together to work from a unified vision of how lifestyle offerings and services are delivered to residents.
In NIFS’ case, where our staff members are regularly referring residents to therapy and the Registered Dietitian, or collaborating with activities or dining staff, shifting our onsite Fitness Manager’s focus to a Wellness Coordinator role has been a great fit in many client settings. It’s often a natural progression because residents and other departments are already accustomed to our staff bringing people together and fostering collaboration.
Our degreed and certified staff act as educators with community staff, and they also learn how to best tap into the personal passions and interests of the team members to improve buy-in to the process. After all, they’ve already been working with many of these stakeholders for some time on other programs. Now they are simply bringing everyone to the table with improved consistency and more structure.
Here are three tips when considering how to identify your wellness champion:
- Your champion should talk the talk and walk the walk if they are going to advocate for the message of wellness and collaboration for your community. Ask yourself, “Who would be a good spokesperson at our community to message our wellness program to prospective residents?”
- Your champion should have strong communication and interpersonal skills to foster collaboration among your wellness team. They should be able to determine how to tap into the personal passions and talents of those on the team to leverage strengths and improve buy-in.
- Your champion should be well organized and have strong attention to detail. After all, they are the individual responsible for keeping the team organized, establishing timelines for special events, tracking completion of tasks, and more. The champion is once again that catalyst bringing everyone together and being responsible for maintaining cohesion among the team, so they must be organized.
Help from NIFS Consulting Services
Does your community need support identifying who your wellness champion is or how to shift roles and responsibilities to support this type of position? NIFS consulting services can help you answer those questions and many more to support a collaborative approach to wellness planning.