Senior living industry report reveals technology is essential to solving the industry’s top priority.

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Flourishing Communities: Mount Alverna Village


In this on-demand webinar featuring Mount Alverna Village, our panelists share how they utilize LifeLoop's features for both one-on-one engagement and group programs, integrating the dimensions of wellness into daily life in their community. Additionally, with the use of LifeLoop, Mount Alverna Village was able to consolidate its previously used programs and create an efficient and streamlined approach to resident engagement. Watch now to hear their stories and strategies for implementing technology to help your memory care community flourish! 

ROI highlights:
  • 100% increase in resident engagement since implementing LifeLoop
  • 100% improvement in communication between residents and families since implementing LifeLoop
Flourishing Communities Webinar Series

LifeLoop is proud to feature this year's Communities That Shine award winners as part of an all-new webinar series called, Flourishing Communities. This series focuses on senior living communities that are leveraging technology to create exceptional experiences for their residents, their families, and community staff. Learn more about this series and register for upcoming webinars here

Webinar script

Paige Mantel: Alright! Hi, everybody! Welcome to our Flourishing Communities webinar. I know people are just joining now, so would love to hear as you're joining us, let us know, we'd love to hear where you're joining us from, so use the chat box and let us know what town and community are from, it'd be great to see.

Alright. Well, let's get started. As I mentioned, welcome to our Flourishing Communities Webinar series. This series features senior living communities that are leveraging technology to create exceptional experiences for their residents, family members, and community staff.

We have a full schedule set with community leaders throughout the country running about every 2 weeks. I'm Paige Mantel, Chief Marketing Officer of LifeLoop, and I'm thrilled to be your host for today's session. I think most of our audience knows LifeLoop. But to summarize, we have one goal: helping senior living communities flourish. We've been serving the senior living industry for over 25 years with our operational and engagement technology solutions that help more than 4,700 communities engage their residents and the staff.

Our discussion today will run for about 30 min. We welcome your questions and ask that you please put those questions in the Q&A box at the bottom of your screen at the end of the webinar. Please complete the short survey to help us continually improve this webinar series with your feedback. As a follow-up, in a few days you'll receive an email with the recording of today's session, so you can re-watch it or share it with any of your colleagues. Now to my amazing guests on today's episode.

LifeLoop recently announced our Communities That Shine award winners and I'm thrilled to have one of our winners, Mount Alverna Village, a Franciscan Community, join us today. Mount Alverna won our Brilliance in Purposeful Engagement award by utilizing LifeLoop for both one-on-one engagement and group programs. Mount Alverna has created a lively and interactive community atmosphere. Additionally, with adoption of LifeLoop throughout the community, Mount Alverna was able to consolidate on a single technology platform and create an efficient and streamlined approach to resident engagement. Patrick Welsh is the Executive Director and Tracey Zuk is their Life Enrichment Assistant. Welcome, Patrick and Tracy. Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy day to join us.

Tracey Zuk: Thank you.

Patrick Welsh: Thank you.

Paige Mantel: So, let's start with you, Patrick. Tell us more about Mount Alverna and what makes your community so unique?

Patrick Welsh: So, we're located in Parma, Ohio. We've been here since 1953. We are a 153-bed skilled nursing facility that has within that an 18-bed memory support unit. We also offer 30 assisted living, both one-bedroom apartments and then we also have a 42-bed memory support assisted living, which are actually 3 households that are made up of 14 units within each household.

I feel the biggest thing that sets us apart from other communities is our mission. So, we live that every day, and that's basically a celebrating life and serving joy.

Paige Mantel: I love that mission, that is perfect. And, Patrick, what was your journey to senior living?

Patrick Welsh: Well, it started young. We had an unfortunately bad experience with admitting my grandmother to a nursing home, went through that whole experience, did not receive very good care. Kind of used that as a stepping stone for me. I think, what could I do to try to make things better? Got involved with nursing homes at the age of 23, I started running a facility, been doing it for the last 35 years, about which the last 22 years have been here at Mount Alverna Village.

Paige Mantel: That's amazing. I love it when a personal experience creates a lifelong passion and career. And I imagine you've seen a lot of changes, created a lot of positive changes, over your long career.

Patrick Welsh: Definitely, yes.

Paige Mantel: Tracy, how about you? And some of you might notice, Tracy has a wonderful Ohioan accent.

Tracey Zuk: Yes, I started my career in England, UK. I was in the Air Force, and when I came out the Air Force, I've always had a passion and a respect for the seniors. That's how my mom brought me up, and it's something that I wanted to get into when I left the Air Force. I wanted to give back to the community, and that's what I did for many years in different scenarios, you know, mainly in nursing homes and then also in the community. So when I came to America, that's what I wanted to do, and I started off as being an aide, and then I went into memory support being an aide. And then I saw the activities side, and then I could see how that was really benefitting the residents. So I did that for a year, and I came to Mount Alverna 6 months ago, on the life enrichment, and I'm working in the, full time, in the skilled memory support unit.

Paige Mantel: Wonderful, wonderful thanks, Tracy. One of the things that we see the industry really transforming towards, and I think Mount Alverna is a phenomenal example, is that transition to really being focused around wellness. How do you define wellness at your community?

Tracey Zuk: Wellness is a wholeness. It's not just one thing, it's many things, and I learned this since coming to Mount Alverna. You know it's different dimensions to wellness, and it's something that Mount Alverna, we follow a lot, and we have to. We have our regionals that you know, we have to put so many socials in a day, we have to occupational, you know, spiritual, environmental. There's so many aspects to wellness and dimensions, and we have to do that daily, and we have to put that in our calendars, and it works, and it's right. It's not just about care, it's everything, you know, and it's making it round that one person. You can make it individual. And that's how, LifeLoop has helped with that, you know, being people-centered, and you can actually, you know, help them more just with their life enrichment.

Paige Mantel: Yeah. Isn't that a great example of whole-person and person-centered care? So excellent. Well, let's dive into what makes Mount Alverna a flourishing community. I'd love to start with learning more about how you're creating the amazing resident experiences. Patrick, start with you. What's your guiding strategy for creating amazing experiences for your residents?

Patrick Welsh: I think first of all, you know, I always say we try to look at this, that this is the residents’ home, and we're just guests here. Also try to look at residents as though if that was my mom or dad or grandmother, grandfather, how would I want them to be treated. I think we also want to be creative, you know, looking outside the box trying things differently. If something doesn't work, we learn from it. Try to make necessary changes and then try again. I just think it's important, also try to know what the residents like and want, you know, so that we could try to make their experience, as you know, as great as possible.

Paige Mantel: Amazing. Yeah, I think the sense of listening and really being focused on each individual is what I hear from you. Thanks. Tracy, walk us through a typical day for you. I'm sure there's no one typical day. But give us, give us a sense.

Tracey Zuk: Yeah, we have, you know, a calendar that we do follow as much as we possibly can. But you know, obviously, each day is different. But a typical day is where we give out some daily papers, there's got some fun facts, trivia, some orientation for that day. And then we are doing meet and greets. So we're physically looking around and greeting the residents, you know, making sure that they're okay. Do they need their blinds open if they're in bed? Do they need their call button? Do they, you know, any little thing like that. Just that first contact and gauge how they're doing that day. Then we'll start to do our programs with, do the orientation boards. So we have to set up, you know, what day it is, what day, what month it is, year. It helps with orientation. So that's on all floors, and then we'll go into our programs.

So for me, for memory support, well, I will put on maybe a program while we're just transporting from breakfast, an iN2L program LifeLoop, and I normally would like to put on the webcams for them. There's amazing, the cams on that they love, the hummingbird ones and the puppy ones, and the kittens, they love that so I'll put that on, and then we'll do some light exercises. Again, it's a program that's on LifeLoop, just some light stretches just to, you know, orientate them to the morning. Get them moving a little bit, and then we are going to our spiritual programs. We're lucky at Mount Alverna. We have our own chapel, but we can also stream on our TVs. And so we can do different types of spiritual programs. And on LifeLoop too, it’s very diverse. There are programs on there for different types of religions. So you know, you don't have to just do one religion. And then we'll do some exercises. We make this more fun, more lively with, you know, singing, dancing, singalongs. They absolutely love their singalongs. And I love doing the singalongs with them, you know. They just light up the room, and they just come alive. So, and these are all on the LifeLoop, and they're all specially designed, you know, for them. And so it's great.

And then we come into the lunchtime, and then after lunch, we'll do one-on-ones, you know. So and then, while I'm doing one-on-ones or setting up for the afternoon, then they can be watching some very interesting programs, you know. And I can, again, people send to that those programs of who's actually there, because every day is different, you know, and so the those are good programs for them, while I'm doing one-on-ones. And then we'll do a bigger activity in the afternoon. It might be the Gardening Club. It might be arts and crafts, or it could be culinary. We do full at least 4 cooking activities a week. You know, so it's very interesting for them in the afternoon. And we utilize the LifeLoop as well in the evenings where they can put on interesting programs, TV shows, films, trivia quizzes, you know, there's plenty that there's a diversity that for everybody. That's a typical day, but every day changes, you know. But that is actually typical. Just the content might change a little bit.

Paige Mantel: Yeah, I love the way you describe just all the different ways you're engaging residents—group, individual, personally—it's just, that's amazing. Patrick, obviously, technology is being used heavily with Mount Alverna residents. How do you see from your view—and obviously you've seen the implementation and the adoption of technology—how do you see technology helping with resident experience?

Patrick Welsh: Well, I think technology has allowed us to do a lot more with the residents, enables us to give the residents an experience that we could not do years ago. For example, we can like personalize things more. It's interesting, like you know, if we want to do an arts and crafts or something, you could actually YouTube how to do all that, you know and set everything up, where in the past you were trying to put all that together in the planning, and I think it's helped, you know, we'll talk a little bit more later I know, about it, but it has helped to give the staff more time to spend with the residents itself. The same thing like streaming stuff over the TV, technology’s allowed us, you know, to find movies and stuff like that. I just think it's, it also allows us to do more than one activity at a time. You know, when we're doing multiple activities meeting different groups of residents’ needs. It's all much easier to do that way now, because, you know, one activity, one time spending with the same group of people.

Paige Mantel: Yeah, that's amazing. And I know, you know, there's a myth that seniors, you know, are slow to adopt technology, because we have seen adoption, you know, quite dramatically, but I know it's a bit of a, you know, a start to get there. How are you seeing the seniors interact with technology today, Tracy?

Tracey Zuk: So with us, they're using it technology very well and they're taking it very well. We do bingo with the LifeLoop that can project onto the big TV or a big screen. We can do different diversity of languages, you know, on my unit, especially, there's diversity there. So, we're using the technology and they're appreciating the technology because I can stream something from it on one of the programs on LifeLoop in Spanish or Italian. You know, that's very useful. That's very how, that's very person-centered, you know, for that. And very important for those people and for their relatives, you know, that you're actually taking the time, you know, to actually do something individual like that.

So, they're embracing that side with the technology, you know, that it gives them so many more options that, you know, that that's the thing, the variety and the options. They love the music that’s on there, you know, there's lots of genres there. Everyone's different with their music. So you can individualize it, or you can have it in a group setting, the singalongs. You know they're very interactive with that because they can see it on the TV. As well as what they're actually doing, which is, you know, answering questions or singing, or just watching something. So, the interaction of the technology they're doing, I think they are embracing it very well, you know. Obviously, we're doing it for them. But what we're offering them, they're embracing it, that technology.

Paige Mantel: That's great. And I know you've got a lot of different types of technology devices in your community. What are the different devices that you have? I know people are always interested to learn that.

Tracey Zuk: So we've got the big TVs, and we've got iPads. So, with LifeLoop it’s portable, it’s an app. You can take it, you can take it on an iPad, you have it on a computer. You can have it on a phone, so we can hook our iPads to the TV. So it's portable. We can take it anywhere, you know, in the community. Also on the memory support unit, we have a monitor on a cart which we can plug the LifeLoop and stream it onto the massive TV. And we can also turn it. So if I've got a large group, I can move the cart around to the corner, so everybody sees everything clear, what's going on, you know. You don't have to double people up or squish them all together, you know, you can spread people around, and they all involved, you know. So that's another good thing.

We also have the LifeLoop on the screens that we do our slideshows, so photographs that we have which you can take straight away into LifeLoop, you know, from a resident or an activity. And then we can also upload those onto our screens, and we do that each month to showcase photographs or activities that we've done for that month. We can celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, you know, you can put any information in there for employees. And I do know that that's a good tool for the community for families to walk in and then they see, “Oh, there’s my loved one, you know, doing this on the slideshow.” So and this, it's all linked so, which is great. It's portable, but it's all linked. So it gives you that variety, you know, gives you that little bit of leeway to change things up as you need to.

Paige Mantel: Yeah, yeah. Well, you're doing a great job of using the different technology devices to bring the one-on-one, the group, and all the different ways to engage with people. Patrick, I know, we mentioned it a little bit, but keeping family members connected is so critically important. What are the strategies and tactics that you're putting in place at Mount Alverna to achieve and keep those connections so strong?

Patrick Welsh: Great. So it yeah, I always say, at first it was so hard before LifeLoop to even keep families updated. I think right now it's so much more easier. It allows us, you know, to share residents’ moments that are going on. We're able to talk about, you know, pictures, you know, what events they're involved in, you know, what the daily activities are for them. We're able to communicate to and we find that we have much more family involvement.

A lot of times to you have family members who are out of town. They have the ability now to participate. I think that helps them to feel more involved. You know, I think the other thing that we've done, too, is, I think Tracy talked a little about, is on each of our units we have the big screens that project daily what the activities are going to be done, what, you know, events, we just had pictures of those events, and I think the thing that we've used too with the one we have in our lobby, it's become a big marketing tool for us in allowing us to, so when a family member comes into tour, they sit in our front lobby, and all they see is all the activities, the pictures, everything. It’s usually the first question they'll ask us, you know, “What is that?” So it's helped us, and then I think it helps families as well, just to admitting their loved one to our community.

Paige Mantel: That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. And I think you bring up such an important point that keeping family members connected with such a manual and labor-intensive task of making phone calls, answering phone calls, maybe an email here or there. But the ability to scale that with technology, so that the family members are kept in, you know, contact of what's happening and actually see the photos of their loved one, makes a big difference.

Patrick Welsh: Right.

Paige Mantel: Tracy, on family members and their use of LifeLoop when they're not obviously in the community visiting with their loved one. What did you learn about increasing their adoption so that they were also using the technology to be able to check in and see how things are going for their loved one?

Tracey Zuk: Yes, so we can email them or we can make a phone call and say, “Hey, we've got this fantastic, you know, communication for your loved one, where you can see everything,” and you know, and I'm a big believer in it. I love it because I do believe it brings families together, and I see it. I see it every time. I see it with the photographs that they send. They also send, family can send photographs onto that, so that we can then show the residents, and we can talk with them and increase their experience that way. So we're a bit advocate of it, and whenever families visit, do visit, you know, we always make a point. We sit down and say, “This is what we use and this is what we do, we think it'd be great for you.” Be, you know, be very proactive. You can be proactive in the day-to-day things that is going on with your loved one. You can see what's going on, it shows a story because we can, we’ll chart the attendance of all activities for that day.

You know, if they don't attend, we'll put a reason, there's a reason, you know. There's a, like a down chart where you can click for a reason, it tells a story. It makes them more involved with their loved one, no matter where they are, they could be in Florida. But they know what's going on, you know, because when you get family come to visit, there's a snapshot of, that's all they see of that day, so they may come for an hour. They just see that one hour, they don't see the big picture of what's been happening the whole day. You know, they've, they're having a fantastic day and had a great fantastic day. They might have come in one moment, they might not be having a great moment, but for the 99.9% they've had a fantastic day.

And that's what LifeLoop can do. The recording that we do, the login that we do—it shows everything. We could put pictures on, we put pictures on of those activities, you know, and they love that because they can actually see, okay, that's where they were. This is what they were doing. This is how they look, Oh, they were wearing that today. You know, it’s very interactive, even though you're not live, if you know what I mean, you're very involved. The family can still be very involved with their loved one.

Paige Mantel: Amazing, amazing. You've done a great job of showing family members how they can stay connected and see all these activities, which, of course, is what is driving their adoption in use. Amazing. Patrick, if we step back and we think about, you know, as you mentioned, you've been at Mount Alverna for, is it 22 years?

Patrick Welsh: Going on. Yeah.

Paige Mantel: Yeah. So when you made the decision to bring LifeLoop into the community, tell us about the rollout, you know, how did this, and you know, let's dive into the staff experience. Obviously, Tracy is one of your amazing staff members and clearly loving the technology. But you have a whole team. How did they respond to this technology in rolling, when you rolled it out?

Patrick Welsh: Like anything, I think, at first change is tough. But I will say, you know, once we rolled it out, it went pretty smoothly. I think also, once the staff got used to what all this could do, it made everything flow much better, and truly, I think makes their job, I want to say easier, but it makes them be able to do things more, like there's not as much preparation, you know, because everything's provided for them.

I think the other thing from a family standpoint for us was trying to get the families educated, and that was done by our director and all the staff. We had meetings set up with all the family members. We went over it, and, like everyone, some took to it much quicker, and others needed a little bit more work. But I think the families started seeing, you know, the benefits of LifeLoop and really started catch on right away. But for the most part I think that the whole rollout was, you know, once everyone got into and dug into it, started using it, we all thought, saw the benefits of, you know, what LifeLoop could provide for us and for the residents.

Paige Mantel: That's great. You could kind of mentioned it, Patrick, but on the issue of having the staff enjoy their job more because they get to spend more time with residents, right, versus a lot of the labor-intensive part. But share a little bit more of what you're hearing from your staff members of how it kind of helps change their days.

Patrick Welsh: I think, you know, right now the planning is a little bit easier. What I call scut work is not have to be done because it's provided. You know, I think it's especially because everything's from a technology-based standpoint, it gives a lot more time to spend in enjoying more time with the residents and in participating with the residents. You know, it's like I said, it’s just, I find that we could provide more activities more times a day, different activities, for a variety of different people's needs and wants. So, I think the staff enjoy that as well. And we've had some staff that flourish in certain areas and others. And I think it's just made the experience of much greater than at first, because I guess, as I said, change is difficult, but I feel everyone right now, you know, appreciates what all LifeLoop provides for us and the ability to do our job better.

Paige Mantel: That's great. That's great. And I know, Tracy, you love data, and you use the data reporting in the dashboard to help you. Share a little bit more about that.

Tracey Zuk: So as I said before, we do all the logging for every activity, whether somebody comes or not, you know. So, it tells a story. So at the end of each day, you can look at that individual, you can see exactly what they've attended, you can see what they've declined, and why they've declined; it’s telling a story, and that can be useful, especially for my director. She can say to us, “Well, this resident, you know, for the last 3 days is not attended anything. What's going on?” And if it's not medical, then maybe there's something that we, as life enrichment, can change. Maybe we need to look at something different. Maybe we need to approach something different.

That's a very good tool, because you can get every single resident, because there's also reports that come up, and there's pie charts, you know. There's so much on there that you can use it for what you need for our management tool, and I think that's great, because especially our boss, Sandy, our director. She's very good, and wants everybody, you know, to be seen to as an individual. So if there's something which, red flag, in that they've not been to an activity for a few days, you know, she, I know she finds it very useful to say to us, “Hey, you know, we need to be doing more here. We need to do this, do that.” So and that's really useful, because that, as I say, that can go to every single resident in the community, you know, not flipping through paperwork or binders and trying, oh, did so and so to go here, there. Oh, my gosh, you know, those are dinosaur days! You know, so it's great, with a touch of a button, you've got it there, and you can use it for the residents’ benefit. So, and that's what's the most important.

Paige Mantel: Yeah, no, yeah. I mean, you're using the power of that data to make a difference in each resident’s lives because you, you know what's happening for them, whether they're, you know, engaging or not, and make changes on the fly with that.

Tracey Zuk: Absolutely. Yeah, exactly.

Paige Mantel: Awesome. Well, we only have 1 minute left, so I have one more question for Patrick. What advice do you have for communities that are looking to roll out LifeLoop or any other technology to their communities?

Patrick Welsh: Well, I guess I at first would say, you know specifically the LifeLoop, I wasn't sure. You know we all have our, you hear/I see the spiel and all of it, and you're like, well not sure. But after being in the building, you know, I would recommend this for everyone. The big thing I see it just allows us to provide more individual one-on-one activities, better activities. I think the huge part too just allowing the families to feel like they're participating, you know, where in the past, you know, families might call in and say, You know, what activities my mom did, or the loved one would say, I didn't go to any activities. And you could show all that they were involved in, pictures and everything. So, it has also, I think, made our jobs a little bit easier, to be able to communicate with families. But especially too, I just think just the stuff that we can do now that we couldn't do before. It's just, I think it's more fulfilling for us to see the residents and enjoy too.

Paige Mantel: Excellent. Thank you. Well, Patrick and Tracy, thank you so much for your time and sharing your knowledge and expertise with everybody today, and to our participants, thank you for joining us and engaging with us. Our next webinar will be on April 24th, with another Communities That Shine winner, The Kensington Walnut Creek. I hope you'll all join us for that.

For those of you that are interested in learning more about the LifeLoop products, please let us know by answering the short survey that you'll see when you exit. The webinar team will be happy to follow up and schedule a personalized demo for anybody who is interested. So, thank you all very much again, and have a wonderful day.

Patrick Welsh: Thank you.

Tracey Zuk: Thank you, bye!


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