Senior Living

Top 3 Takeaways from LeadingAge Annual

3 Takeaways from LeadingAge Annual graphic

Senior living leaders are using skills attained from COVID-19 to secure a stronger future.

This year’s LeadingAge Annual Meeting was quite a bit different from what we’re used to, but still offered the same great opportunity to come together and network, share ideas, and offer support when we need it more than ever.

The virtual experience represented what we are all striving to accomplish — finding new and better ways to keep moving forward and reflecting on how the skills we had to pick up along the way in 2020 will better prepare us for the future.

Here are three of our top takeaways from the LeadingAge event that reflect what our industry’s leaders are doing to keep bettering themselves and their communities:

1) You are your own best advocate.

Knowing who you are, what you represent, and being able to confidently communicate that to your market is absolutely essential now and in the future.

The media coverage surrounding this pandemic left many community stakeholders searching for new ways and new partnerships to help advocate for their community.

Numerous communities have been reaching out to the press for the first time to get out truthful, positive stories and are cultivating personal relationships with reporters. Others have had to engage in tough, but necessary conversations with government representatives to educate them on senior living issues and bias due to ageism. Most are making an effort to create relationships with their peers to share ideas and create new guides like the Pandemic Playbook to take initiative and get the help they need.

2) Everyone has a responsibility to innovate.

In what may have begun earlier this year as an all-hands-on-deck approach, there is now a heightened awareness of everyone’s individual role and what efforts they should be making within their own spaces to innovate.

Boards are examining their focus, sometimes moving from an operational to a more mission-driven effort or examining their ability to better evaluate and understand risk mitigation. Other leaders are learning how to think clearer under pressure and take quicker action during high-risk projects.

More new construction projects are adding outdoor dining options and thinking through things like how to reduce physical touches by using digital signage instead of paper announcements.

Even the smallest details, like adding one sentence in contract language to help vendors adhere to your safety protocols, are proving to be vitally important.

3) Self-care and community-care go hand in hand.

Sacrifices are being made across the board to keep residents and employees safe. But regardless of what you are doing for others, it is equally important that you are also taking care of yourself. 

Many communities are making unique efforts to implement self-care into daily work life and streamline their processes. By keeping employees healthy and simplifying what can be controlled, you’ll give yourself room to address the unexpected. Some of these ideas include better-utilized or new technologies, daily breathing and meditation exercises, and an increased focus on connection and engagement.

By taking the time to recognize your own and other team members’ needs, and implementing tools to address them, you can set everyone up for higher job satisfaction and better resident care.

The general consensus we are seeing is that each of the new skills you have likely had to acquire in response to COVID-19 are not only helping you move forward now; they’re better equipping you for the future.

Whether you’re becoming a better community advocate, finding ways to innovate, or implementing new strategies to care for yourself and your employees — every step you take and every tool you obtain will enhance your capabilities and prepare you for a stronger 2021 and beyond.

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