For some reason, this morning I recalled something I read in Donna Cutting's The Celebrity Experience. In the beginning of the book she talked about assisted living and it struck a cord with me. One of my friends works in a place for senior citizens and they implemented some things that were brought up early on in The Celebrity Experience to make the residents feel more at home.
For several years, I worked in the field of elder care with seniors who live in assisted-living communities. If you you've ever had to help a parent move into a retirement care community then you know how difficult it can be for everyone. It would break my heart watching children and their parents wrestle with the decision.
The adult children are wracked with guilt, often dealing with parents who are fighting the decision, and filled with confusion about whether they are making the right choice.
Despite what you may hear on the new or on the television ads sponsored by law firms, most elder care professionals are sensitive to this transition and bend over backward to be helpful and make it easier. However, as with many industries, they are often short on staff and are overregulated, which sometimes means that people get shortchanged as a result of the process.
Cut to the conversation I had with my friend Andrea, a marketing director at a large assisted-living company. She was telling me about an idea that she and her boss had about how they would welcome prospective and new residents to their community.
At their community, prospective residents and their family members would be welcomed by a valet at the front drive. The valet would be expecting them, and would greet them by name and with a smile as he helped them out of their car.
Another designated greeter would walk the visitors down a red carpet and into the building. Inside they would see a banner that welcomed them personally to the community.
I know this doesn't sound like a lot, but things like: offering the residents choices such as menu items, bed time and activities during the day instead of having them all do one thing at the same time are all things that can be done to encourage and promote importance and empowerment that are needed in any organization.
Take time to look into this book on how to really treat people and how to get treated like a celebrity yourself. We're offering FREE regular ground shipping until March 1st, 2008 for this book, regardless of quantity. And if you get a chance, PBS aired a special presentation of the nursing home my friend works at called Almost Home. (The show has many of the examples Cutting's book brings up and you can actually see how the very simple things in life can change a person's outlook towards life and make them seem like they are one of the most important people around.) Click HERE for Donna's website! (And for more "celebrity experiences" check out this new book from 'two daughters of Hollywood'. It's called Celebutantes and it talks about 'that mad and magical week' of the Oscars.)