Flourishing Communities: Presbyterian SeniorCare Network


In this on-demand webinar featuring Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, our panelists share how they've successfully utilized technology in their memory care settings, enhancing resident experiences and fostering family connections through engagement content. Watch now to hear their stories and strategies for implementing technology to help your 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 transcript

Paige Mantel: All right. Well, welcome everyone to our Flourishing Communities webinar series. This series features senior living communities that are leveraging technology to create exceptional experiences for the residents, the 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 at 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 offer a comprehensive operational and engagement technology solution and have been serving the senior living industry for over 25 years. With more than 4,600 communities and half a million seniors using our solution, we've been able to build world-class products that meet the unique and critical needs of senior living operators.

Our discussion today will run for about 30 minutes. We welcome your questions and ask that you put those in the Q&A box at the bottom of your screen. At the end of the webinar, please complete the very short survey, only 4 questions, to help us continually improve these webinars based on 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 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, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, joining us today. Presbyterian SeniorCare Network won our Brilliance in Resident Engagement award based on their use of LifeLoop’s iN2L engagement solution to drive personalized resident experiences and foster meaningful family connections. They have been a customer for almost 20 years. Carrie Chiusano is the Executive Director for their Dementia Care Center of Excellence, and Jan Klein is their Lifestyle Engagement Specialist at Longwood at Oakmont. Welcome Carrie and Jan, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to join us.

Carrie Chiusano: Thank you for having us.

Paige Mantel: Absolutely. Carrie, let's start with you, we would love to learn more about Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, your Dementia Care Center of Excellence, and your diverse career in senior living.

Carrie Chiusano: Okay, well, thank you. Thanks again for having us. Presbyterian SeniorCare Network actually celebrated its 95th year, last year, 2023. It's been building its reputation as a dementia care expert for over 30 years now. In 1991, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network developed Woodside Place, one of the first residential personal care communities of its kind in the United States. It was actually designed after a prototype in Birmingham, England. We were looking all over the country trying to find somebody who was doing really great care for folks living with dementia. But through a grant, our leadership team really had the opportunity to go to Birmingham and bring back a philosophy where, yeah, we were able to meet the physical, social, psychological needs of folks living with dementia. And honestly, from its inception, Woodside Place really challenged the traditional nursing home model of care.

But the cool thing about all of that is that over 30 years later, the Woodside Place model really remains relevant and has been replicated over a hundred times around the world. And I've been so fortunate to be a part of this creation, of Presbyterian SeniorCare Network’s Dementia Care Center of Excellence. I have been with Presbyterian SeniorCare Network since 1984. I was 7 when I started. Hmm! Well, my hats have changed over the years. I worked initially with recreation therapy, became administrator of Woodside Place, and then the director of our Dementia Care Center of Excellence. But most recently, we expanded our reach through our Center for Innovation and Care Transformation with clients and organizations across the country that want more education and guidance on how to improve their own dementia care.

But we got to celebrate our award this morning, and honestly, one of the best perks in the work that I do is working with loving and caring and just fabulous team members like Jan.

Paige Mantel: And speaking of Jan – Jan, you have a pretty special story of how you came to this career. Do you mind sharing that?

Jan Klein: Oh, sure! My journey into senior living was being my mom's caregiver for 12 years, with her memory loss. These were probably the hardest years of my life. We think it's hard when our children are young, and it's nothing compared to taking care of a parent. Finding care for my mom's dementia was rough. She was constantly overmedicated for her distressed reactions, and just given up on. She was always diagnosed in her last stages of dementia, so I was totally lost until I found Woodside Place. With their philosophy and care, she had the best 5 years of her, the last 5 years of her life. She just thrived there.

Years after, I decided to change my career, and I became the Lifestyle Specialist at Longwood at Oakmont in their Woodside neighborhood. So, I wanted to give back for the compassion, the patience and love, also to support families, because since I lived what they're going through. My first day was the very first day of our, the beginning of our pandemic, and the residents needed me, that the families needed me more. So, it's been 4 years since I have been here, and I just love my job. We have the best times of just being together and having fun.

Paige Mantel: That is just an amazing story. I love how you took what experience you had and learned from it and are making such a difference every day in your job today. That's, you know, you're one of the passionate caregivers that this industry is so well known for. So, thank you for sharing your story. Jan.

Jan Klein: Yeah.

Paige Mantel: So, at LifeLoop, we define flourishing communities as those that create amazing resident experiences, keeping staff that are joyful in their work, and maintaining those deep connections with family members. So, let's dive into a little bit more about how you're doing that at the community.

I know that our goal with developing LifeLoop’s iN2L engagement solution over these past 25 years has been to provide our customers with endless ways to engage and enrich resident lives. You reported in your Communities That Shine award nomination that you're seeing a 100% improvement in resident engagement since using LifeLoop. That's amazing. I'd love to dive into how you're creating those amazing experiences. Carrie, share your thoughts. I'd love to hear.

Carrie Chiusano: So about, gosh, it's been close to 20 years now, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network discovered, we wrote a grant. We heard of this It's Never 2 Late system. We wrote a grant, and we got our first system. And we have 53 communities now. And I have to tell you, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, years ago, almost 20 years ago, right after we got that first system, we decided to make those systems, that technology, a non-negotiable in our Woodside communities and neighborhoods; every space dedicated to dementia care has at least one system. And even though, even the sections of our communities that are not specific to dementia care, they all pretty much have at least one system, too.

This was a great tool for the Lifestyle Engagement team. But as we all know, we can't kinda chain them to a table and have them working 24/7. So, we needed a plan, and we turned to our certified dementia practitioners. Presbyterian SeniorCare Network has certified over 300 dementia practitioners since 2018, and every year, one of the responsibilities for each of us is to choose a goal specific to dementia care and education and really cascade that information in their spaces.

Some of the projects that we've had, so many projects. But some of the projects that the team has completed was to you know, to champion a new project in the dementia care spaces. We had a gal who wrote a children's book, and when children come in to visit, and they're asking questions, a team member, or a family member, we've even had 2 residents that were just in the early stages of their journey, they would take the time to read this book to the kids. It's really kind of wonderful to watch. We've had people champion the music and memory program in the neighborhoods and communities. We've had folks lead a fundraising and education opportunity specific to dementia. Teach each team member, the Lifestyle Engagement team really went all in with this, making sure that they would teach each team member in their space how to use the systems, but not just to engage the residents, but to keep them in a good space. Especially during sundowning hours.

We had a gentleman years ago. It's when I was still administrator of Woodside Place. And that man, that man was tall, and he could just find his way over our 11-foot fence. We had to be checking on that frisky and fit gentleman all the time. And we tried everything, his family would come in and sit with him, and we had people working one-on-one with him, and if we took somebody to the bathroom, boy, he was, he was figuring it out. And you know, long story short, I could give you so many stories on Bill. He was just so amazing. So much fun, kept us on our toes, just didn't give us a choice how we had to be creative. But he would always tell us how when he was in, when he was in the service, he would fly the fighter planes. And he was so proud of that.

And you know, so we went to our technology. We went to our system, and we got the flight simulator out. And you know, he would start to sundown right around 6:45 every day. So, at 6:30 we would pull out the flight simulator, and we would set Bill down, and you know, he'd be flying his plane, and before we knew it, he had chairs lined up all behind him, and residents were sitting, and they were going. This was him doing all of this. “Where? Where does everybody want to go today?” They've been to Hawaii. They went to Japan, and they went all over the place. And we found this was the best time to give him his evening meds as well, because the nurse would come in, and at first, he wouldn't take it, because he said, “You know, I can't. I'm flying a plane, and she goes, ‘Well, all those lessons you gave me, I can fly just for a second. We wanna make sure you have your right heart medication. You can't have a heart attack when you're in charge of all these people here.’”

And that worked for us. We used the system so that we could get Bill to take his meds. And he didn't need PRN medications anymore. Because we found this thing. We found his thing. The best part of it all is during the Care Conference with Bill's 3 sons and daughter, we told him, you know he would always tell us these stories, and they started to belly laugh. He never was a fighter pilot. He actually, he actually repaired the engines of the planes, so didn't matter. Worked for us, worked for him. But you know, we found out, you know, what he liked, what he didn't like, you know, what made him tick, what ticked him off. And sure enough, we were able to connect with that technology.

And we could tell story after story after story about how the system has helped us. But the one project that I'm really most proud of is the study that our rehab team did under the guidance of Dr. Steven Zarit from Penn State University. Over the years we all saw how residents responded to It's Never 2 Late, and technology in general, in our neighborhoods and communities with Lifestyle Engagement. And we thought, why not take this technology into the gyms and explore—could we improve outcomes in the rehab space?

And I'm not gonna lie. What we thought was gonna be about a 6-month project ended up taking several years. I didn't mind though because I got to work with the team, and I got to work with Chris Krause, who was with It's Never 2 Late at the time, and you know a lot of the team members from iN2L were able to come and help educate our therapists, but honestly, what we thought would be a 6-month project took several years. But the research showed that 41% of the goals were met in the control site, while 54% of the goals for rehab or met in the site using technology. And if you work with individuals living with dementia, you know. That's a huge win.

Paige Mantel: That is amazing. That is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing Bill's story. What a beautiful story. And yeah, that research project was profound. I remember reading it when I started at the company. So, thanks for sharing those stories. Jan, in your Communities That Shine submission, you shared a lot of beautiful stories, and I can speak on behalf of all the LifeLoop employees that reviewed the submissions to help identify our winners. Everybody was extremely touched by your stories, and if it's okay, I'd love to read one of the stories you shared. That's great.

Jan writes: My best experience was taking the LifeLoop system to the room of a resident that was on hospice. She would talk about her best years of her life at William & Mary College. With iN2L, we took a virtual tour. How she remembered all the buildings and statues of the campus. We played her Alma Mater! She sang every word lying in her bed. We both had tears streaming down our cheeks. She held my hand and thanked me over and over. She passed the next week. I'm so glad I had this technology for this, and for always.

It chokes me up every time I read that story. Thank you so much for sharing, and I know you have a lot of other great stories of how you're using iN2L on a daily basis with your residents. I'd love to hear more if you don't mind sharing, I'm sure.

Jan Klein: Sure, so our residents, they're waiting for me to return from morning meeting. They're all gathered around the TV. They're ready to start, and we do usually a seated exercise, as on bus over sneakers, anything we could pull up on the iN2L. I play games trivia travel, karaoke, cooking. At times I'll pull up a recipe and I'll make the same recipe in front of the residents, and nothing like the smell of the recipe cooking in our kitchen, you know. We just love that, and it's so great because they could watch me baking and what's on the screen also. We'll pull up our favorite vacations. We'll take virtual tours, and we've been all around the world. Our favorites are the sunsets of Poly Island, Verra Beach, Florida, Huntsville, Ontario, and Van Buren, New York.

So, our last trip was to France. We pulled up the slide show with our residents. One of our residents was reading all the captions in French, and we tried to engage her earlier in the morning as she passed the halls, and I asked her to help me with the presentation, and she pronounced every French word with such fluency. We were just amazed, and she was just so proud of herself, too, and you know, just her family just loved that story, you know, that she could still speak so well.

Another experience, and I have so many, is the Conductorcize. We would have a resident, and she would never exercise at all. With the Conductorcize, and it was like she was conducting the Pitts, Pittsburgh Symphony. She was just up in front of the screen, and you know, just with her arms going in a mile minute. There's just always something you could pull up on the iN2L that would interest anybody. And I would really be lost without our system.

Paige Mantel: Thank you for sharing that, I know, I know our content team that has delivered over 6,000 pieces of content to date are going to be so happy to hear that when they when they watch this webinar. I know that your staff, you have an amazing staff at Presbyterian SeniorCare Network. And you know, making their jobs as enjoyable as possible and keeping people like Jan focused on time with the residents and creating these amazing experiences is so important. I'd love to hear, Jan, more on how are you doing the training, you know, more about your CDPs, and how iN2L helps them with their jobs.

Jan Klein: So, we started a monthly education series for our team. And we began with the iN2L. We wanted the team to be able to engage the residents any time of the day or night. We have detailed instructions for any team member that might come into our neighborhood that they could pull up, you know, just anything. We added suggestions of the favorite activities or calming activities. We wanted the team to feel at ease with the system and to get their ideas of what would interest them to do with the residents. So, every team member has been so excited with an experience that they have had with the residents. And I'm just really proud of my team.

Paige Mantel: That's wonderful. Carrie, anything you want to add, as far as the training and the CDPs and your staff?

Carrie Chiusano: So sure, actually watching it this morning during the celebration, we kind of started to gather to get ready to give Jan and the team the award, and one of the CNAs, all of a sudden we saw him walking past the window, and he's marching, and he's waving, and you know, the nurse while she was passing her medications was doing the same thing, and you know, a lot of people, when we do tours and such a lot of people will say, you know, I feel like that's just a show, and I said you could come any time, day or night, and you will absolutely see these types of things.

Paige Mantel: Amazing, pretty awesome. One of the things that Jan talked about earlier is the importance of keeping family members connected and how important it is. Carrie, question for you, you know, tell us more about the strategies and tactics that you've put in place to achieve and continue those family connections.

Carrie Chiusano: Oh, gosh! There's so much work going around, you know, through the whole network. But initially, it began with one of our social workers teaming up with the Lifestyle Engagement team. Her goal? It was to educate family members to the systems, the technology, the tablets; the tablets became huge for us. But in teaming up they decided to have regular meetings. You know, celebrations, it's springtime, let's decorate. Let's decorate cookies. And oh, by the way, while you're here, let's have a little education on this, and we found that almost every time, there were family members saying, Hey, can you teach me how to use that TV over there?

So again, they were having this during the evenings and during the weekends, and together they learned how to maneuver the technology. And what's really pretty exciting is sometimes even today, if you walk through the great room or the common, the common areas you'll catch one family member teaching another family member. It's kind of, it's kind of exciting, because I used to, I used to observe short visits with residents sitting side by side with family members, and you know, they'd be holding hands and rocking, and they really just didn't know how to communicate with each other any longer. The family members were interacting more with the team or other family members, or anybody who was walking by, that they felt confident they could have a conversation with instead of Mom or Dad or their spouse, or whoever it was that they were visiting. But once they knew how to use these systems, there was so much more engagement. There was laughter. There were smiles, and sometimes the conversation, I mean, don't get me wrong, I mean, sometimes the conversation was still pretty difficult to follow, but to watch them interacting again, it was just, truly it was magical. The technology at this level has been a gamechanger for us for the past 20 years.

And during COVID, yes, I'm gonna bring up COVID. The systems and the tablets were absolutely lifesavers when it came to keeping family members connected. We all know what that felt like, and you know, we were really able to see secure quite a few grants for our network and have many, many tablets that, I saw people using tablets today in Jan's neighborhood. You know, and many, many family members, even team members thought that this would all go away after the pandemic. But families continue to ask for the virtual visits, especially family members from other states. They actually tell us that they feel more connected now than they ever have.

So, I'll say it again, technology has become a beautiful thing in the world of folks living with dementia.

Paige Mantel: Yeah, yeah, thanks for sharing those thoughts and the strategies. And I love when you describe that family members are utilizing the iN2L engagement system along with not only their loved ones, but also other family members, and really kind of creating that community of, you know, engagement and enjoyment, so that those are great stories.

I wanna open it up for the audience to make sure if you have any questions for Carrier or Jan to go ahead and put that in the Q&A box, and I've got I've got one here to start with. Carrie, you mentioned a little bit about this. But do you ever showcase your community's use of LifeLoop and the iN2L engagement system during prospect and family tours? And how do the families react?

Carrie Chiusano: We absolutely do, it’s part of our initial tour. In the majority of the time, the system is already being used. The residents are already engaged. It's not unusual to see a resident leading the group, either. Not just Bill with his flight simulator. But you know some, as I mentioned some of the folks that are early on in their journey ask the team to help them get set up and they will, they'll start something themselves. They'll lead an exercise group or Chair Yoga, something along those lines. But if the system isn't being used for some reason, time of day meal, time, bedtime, we make sure that we highlight it. We turn it on, and we let family members, potential family members. We encourage them to give it a try for themselves. Bubble popping. That’s a winner.

Paige Mantel: Love it! Everybody loves bubble pop! Alright! Another question from one of our audience members. Do you have any suggestions on how to best engage other staff aside from recreation, to participate and get buy-in? So how do you encourage staff to use the system? Any suggestions there?

Carrie Chiusano: Jan, do you want to do that?

Jan Klein: And so, Carrie, I'll let you help me there.

Carrie Chiusano: Well, I know the education piece has been huge, and once they see, once the team sees the person engaged, you know, they see them engaged—I don't know how to put this in nice way. It helps with the stress reaction. So, you take the 5 minutes to save yourself 20 minutes in case they become anxious or frustrated, or you know what it, before they start sundowning. If we engage them, you can just see a happier person. You can see somebody that's engaged instead of somebody just kind of sitting in a chair with their head down. I don't feel like we've had a lot of issues. Jan, do you feel like you've had a lot of pushback? I know when I was educating I did not. I mean, they see it as a great tool.

Jan Klein: They’re happy with it, the team—they were just so excited about everything, and just, you know, different things that they were trying, and the success. You know they were, and I would come in, they would just tell me all about it. So yeah.

Paige Mantel: Yeah, right? It's always great. When you see the great example of it being used and making a big difference. Everybody, then, you know, obviously wants to see that same success and experience it. Alright, we've got time for one last question, Carrie, what advice do you have for communities looking to roll out LifeLoop and iN2L technology at their communities?

Carrie Chiusano: Well, when I was administrator of Woodside Place, I would get calls all the time, and the conversation would always start with, “Hi, Carrie, I got your name from Jack York. Could you speak to me a little bit about the benefits of It's Never Too Late.” Honestly, I can't give you a number of the amount of individuals that I had conversations with over the years, or the invitations that I gave to people that came to our community, and people came. People came from all over the country. I'd say, well, you have to come and check us out, and they came. They would come from all over the country. Honestly, though I don't, I can't think of one community that I talked with that decided not to purchase the system. Once you see this, and you see, and it's not just about the residents, it's about the team, you know. They want to do this. They want to be a part of it. It makes their days better. Family members engaging, I mean. You see, it all.

Jan Klein: It’s so easy for anybody to pull up anything.

Carrie Chiusano: Yeah, right? I say, find a way to fundraise. Get a grant; if you go for the grant, though, make sure you include that monthly subscription in there for a year. My foundations person taught me that, she's amazing. Invest in the tech, the technology, whatever it takes to invest in the technology, really try and make it happen. Like I said, it's a gamechanger in dementia care. And I would have never, like I said, I've been doing this since 1984. If you would have told me that we were gonna introduce technology to individuals living with mid to late-stage dementia, I would have, I would have said that you're crazy, but, and I'm not sure if I should be saying this or not, but I'm going to. It's the customer service, Paige, that has been so outstanding. Presbyterian SeniorCare Network has had the opportunity more than once to help pilot new ideas that LifeLoop has had over the years. And your team listens, Paige. That's why we have, oh, gosh! I believe over 30 systems right now. And I really hope we continue to partner for another 20 years.

Paige Mantel: I love it. I love it. Well, thank you for that great compliment of the amazing team here at LifeLoop. I know we have team members, all of them are just so passionate about the work we do with customers like you. So, thank you for that compliment. We're hitting our time. So, I just wanna wrap up by saying, Carrie, Jan, thank you so much for your time today. Clearly, your groundbreaking work in dementia care and use of the technology is truly amazing.

And thank you to all our participants for joining and engaging with us today. Our next webinar will be on March 27th with another Communities That Shine winner, The Heritage Memory Life Community. I hope you'll all join us for that. And as a reminder, please, when you close out of the webinar, please complete the short 4-question survey that'll appear and provide us any feedback to help make these educational, fun, and great learning opportunities for everybody. So, thank you so much and have a great day.

Carrie Chiusano: Thanks, Paige.

Jan Klein: Thanks, Paige.


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