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

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Flourishing Communities: The Kensington at Walnut Creek


In this on-demand webinar featuring The Kensington at Walnut Creek, our panelists share how they utilize LifeLoop's engagement and operational solutions to engage family members in participating in their loved one's care and motivating them to attend activities. By implementing LifeLoop in their community, The Kensington was also able to create an efficient and streamlined approach to managing resident transportation requests. Watch now to hear their stories and strategies for implementing technology to help your memory care community flourish!

ROI highlights:
  • 25% increase in resident engagement since implementing LifeLoop
  • 25% 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: Hello, everyone. Welcome to our Flourishing Communities webinar today and thank you for joining us. We'll get started in just a second. But while we're waiting for everybody to join, we would love to learn where everyone is from. So, if you go down to the chat window, let us know what town you're joining us from, and the name of your community. Excellent.

Alright! Well, welcome everyone. This series, this Flourishing Communities webinar series features senior living communities that are leveraging technology to create exceptional resident experiences, not only for the residents but also for 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 of LifeLoop, and I'm thrilled to be your host for today's session. I think most of our audience knows LifeLoop, but a quick summary. 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 delight their staff and connect family members.

Our discussion today will run for about 30 min. We welcome your questions and ask that you please put those 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. 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, The Kensington, a Kisco Community, joining us today. The Kensington won our Brilliance in Family Engagement award based on their use of LifeLoop to engage family members in the ongoing care of their loved ones, and we'll dive into how they're doing that throughout our time together today. Joseph Villanueva is the Executive Director and Kayla Pierce is the Art of Living Well Director. Welcome, Joseph and Kayla. Thank you so much for taking time out of your very busy day to join us.

Kayla Pierce: Thank you for having us.

Joseph Villanueva: Thank you for having us.

Paige Mantel: Yeah, and I had the great pleasure of coming out to your community, what, about a month ago, to award your community and your staff with the Communities That Shine award. And I gotta say, you've got a beautiful community, amazing staff, and it was so fun meeting all of your residents, just an amazingly inspiring group of people at your community. So let's get started with you, Joseph. We'd love to learn a little bit more about The Kensington. Tell us more about your community and what makes it so unique.

Joseph Villanueva: Sure. The Kensington, first off, it's a beautiful community. It has a lot of common areas, then it's open, open, common area, right, when you walk into the lobby. So it's the central area of kind of where all of our foot traffic is. And you'll see a lot of interaction, open spaces for residents to mingle with, to chat, to visit with family members and guests. But I think what really makes our community and every community very unique are the people. Kisco really has a focus on hiring top talent and retaining top talent, as some of our goals for this year, and our goal here at The Kensington is really, as a part of Kisco's culture, is providing excellent service at every interaction. We're not looking for perfection. We're looking for excellence, and I think what we try to do here is train our teams to incorporate them into that culture. And really, what I drive is paying attention to how you make people feel at every interaction, because this business and what we do here is interaction based, and we really wanna make sure that people feel heard. We wanna make sure that for our teams, especially if they're running into obstacles or challenges, that they have us as leaders to be able to support them and to guide them through that, so that everybody feels heard, and every interaction feels professional and respectful.

Paige Mantel: Amazing, amazing. And how did you, Joseph, how did you get into the senior living industry? What was your journey?

Joseph Villanueva: Well, I'm a nurse by trade. And so I started off in the senior living industry at a small mom-and-pop assisted living facility that was for high-risk residents with dementia, and early on I learned that this industry needs good leaders at every level, and ultimately, once I learned that, my goal, I made it my personal goal to be able to be a better leader in order to one, make it a good place to work, which I think in turn then makes it a good place to live.

Paige Mantel: I love that, I love that, and I certainly saw the respect and adoration your entire staff has for you when I, when I came out to visit.

Joseph Villanueva: Yeah, it's a great group of people.

Paige Mantel: Yeah. And, Kayla, you're one of those amazing people at the community. What was your journey to senior living?

Kayla Pierce: So I started here, actually, it was my first senior community. I started in 2012 while I was in my final semester in college, and never working with seniors, I found it to be a perfect fit for me, because it allowed me to create relationships with residents and staff. Also, I had never experienced working in a community-type setting, and it felt like a second home to me, and I've never left.

Paige Mantel: At 12 years of your experience there and making a difference in that community—that's an amazing tenure. Kayla, I love your title, The Art of Living Well. How do you define living well at The Kensington?

Kayla Pierce: So I would define it as having a variety of different programs and activities to choose from, that the residents can participate in to fill their individual needs. And at Kisco the art of living well encompasses 9 dimensions of wellness, which we satisfy all of those dimensions for our residents, in order for them to thrive at our community and live well.

Paige Mantel: Amazing, great. Well, let's dive into what makes The Kensington a flourishing community. I'd love to start with learning more about how you're creating amazing resident experiences. So, Joseph, what's your guiding strategy around that?

Joseph Villanueva: Sure, I think for us it's really proper planning, attention to the small details, and then feedback after each event. Many of us work in this industry, and we all have a lot of good ideas on what we think would be a good experience for our residents in any particular event. So our goal is to really execute as best we can, and then, particularly, what's important is after the event, circling back with our team and our residents—for the residents, it's to understand what worked well, what didn't, and for our team it's the same thing because we want to continue to evolve our process, to just get better and better. And we wanna work out those kinks and the details with our team to look at small tweaks that we can make for constant improvement until we land on kind of a final product for one particular event. So it really comes down to the pre-planning, the attention to detail to making sure you have those details teed up, and then making any small adjustments based on how the event went, and the feedback from the residents and the team.

Paige Mantel: I love that you highlight, not only bringing the resident into the strategy, but having that feedback loop and having that clear voice of residents in everything that you do. Kayla, let's jump over to you. I know you've had the LifeLoop product for about 3 years helping you, in your 12 years so far. Can you describe a little bit about how you ran your Living Well programs before and after LifeLoop, and what the difference has been for you and your residents?

Kayla Pierce: Yeah. So prior to LifeLoop, we didn't use any really, any supporting technology for our programming or communication. Once we had LifeLoop, we were able to pull technology in which helped us to take it to the next level. An example being that we were able to do everything digitally when it came to transportation, instead of having, you know, sign-up sheets at the front desk. It was just easy for residents to go through us or the front desk to make their appointment times really simple. And then they, the family members, are able to view future transportation requests as well. LifeLoop also came in handy when it came to COVID, because we were able to include the Zoom links for each of those activities that we were hosting virtually, and it was really helpful for residents.

Paige Mantel: That's great. That's great. And I know, Joseph, when you and I spoke, you love technology, and you're clearly an innovator. How do you see the impact of technology helping The Kensington achieve your goals?

Joseph Villanueva: I think it's, it's a really important piece. It's not only for The Kensington, Kisco is very forward-thinking when it comes to technology. We just recently finished up a conference and looking at different ways to incorporate technology into our community. And for the moment, it is helping us reach our goals in a variety of ways, because with technology, we become more efficient on the things that we can, we should be spending less time on. And in this industry and for our residents, the value is being in front of our residents, and so bringing technology into kind of minimize any administrative tasks or the time it takes to complete those administrative tasks really allows us to then spend more time in front of our residents. And then earlier, we also spoke about the feedback loop. So, technology here helps us gather a lot of data in order to again see what's working, what's not. And then we can make adjustments that then drive our business and then drive the engagements for our residents. So we use it a lot here, and our goal is to continue to do so, so we can have better outcomes for our residents and for our team.

Paige Mantel: Yeah, that the couple of things that really stood out for me, one is staff efficiency. The entire industry is experiencing high turnover rates. I know you don't have as high a turnover rate as the national industry—congratulations to you on that—but the idea of how do we, how do you keep staff satisfied and having them be in front of residents instead of in front of paperwork or doing administrative tasks that really can be managed through and automated through technology. So, your embrace of that, I think, is great. And speaking to the efficiency, I also love the data-driven comment that you made of, how do you gather that feedback and data and make data-driven decisions to continue to improve outcomes. So those are great lessons for our audience. Kayla, seniors, you know—are they interacting with the technology? Obviously, the LifeLoop resident app and portal is something all of your residents can use. But are they using it? How do they do they find it user-friendly? And what are you seeing with adoption?

Kayla Pierce: Yeah. So I would say, we have a handful of residents that, you know, aren't very comfortable using technology. Or there's those that just don't wanna have anything to do with it. But, on the other hand, we have residents that do surprise me, especially new residents who are moving in when I go to sit down and interview them, I usually try to gauge and learn, you know, how comfortable they are using technology. And then I'm finding more and more new residents that are coming in have some sort of device, whether it's a computer or smartphone or tablet. So some are hesitant to use LifeLoop at first, because you know, it can be intimidating for them. But I'm finding once that we set them up on LifeLoop, they realize how user-friendly it is and they enjoy using it mainly for checking what's going on today, let me check the Loop, you know.

Paige Mantel: They call it the Loop? I love that. And I got to meet one of your residents, Chick. I thought, you know, share a little bit about Chick. I think his use of technology is a great example of what new seniors are looking for sure.

Kayla Pierce: Yeah, so Chick and his wife moved in and right away he jumped into using LifeLoop. He's, he actually used to be a programmer, so technology is, you know, his thing. He loves using it. And he's actually the one who says that every day; he'll come into my office to say good morning, and he's got a cell phone, and he's the one who says, “What's going on today on the Loop,” and he pulls up the schedule. So we actually had our resident counsel president, too, who had lived here for a couple of years and just, I don't know why he did not want to use LifeLoop. He came to our LifeLoop 101 class one day, and I got him all set up, and he came back, and he said, “I don't know why I didn't do this sooner,” and he loves using it.

Paige Mantel: That's great. And one of the things that I know you do, and it's definitely a best practice that any of our customers that we see doing these LifeLoop one-on-one sessions on a regular basis, and helping the seniors adopt technology, help them get comfortable with it. That has always been such a best practice to get people to use it. And once they start using it, as you mentioned, they wonder why they weren't using it before.

Alright, let's talk about family members, because keeping family members connected to their loved ones, whether they're in town or out of state, is so important. Joseph, what are some of the tactics and strategies you've put in place to help make sure those connections are strong?

Joseph Villanueva: Sure. I think Kisco has a lot of things set up and a lot of processes that I walked into, and I'm fortunate enough to walk into this type of organization that has these type of platforms and processes set up to drive connection. I think my role is making sure that the team knows how to use these tools and making sure that we're executing so that families do get the updates and the information that they need to give them peace of mind. And particularly with LifeLoop. We had just sent out a letter yesterday, and it's the LifeLoop announcements. That's one of the key tools that we use among that among many other platforms. But it's really not something that I've implemented versus, I've continued to execute and guide our team to make sure that we are executing, so that we're being proactive in our messaging versus reactive. And families get the information ahead of time, and don't have to call and kind of fish for that information.

Paige Mantel: I love that difference between proactive and reactive. And you, you know, you're also commenting to that efficiency piece again, because when you're proactive at that communication, and that causes less incoming reactive calls, you're also helping the staff stay focused on what they do best, instead of managing a lot of incoming calls where you've already communicated so effectively to them.

So, Kayla, when you, when you're helping sign up family members, how do you see them using LifeLoop since they have their own ability to have their own login and app? How are you seeing them use it? And what are some of the things you're learning about increasing the adoption of the family members to be able to stay connected?

Kayla Pierce: So family members, they want to be connected with their loved one, and we're able to help with that by collecting the resident connections and adding them to the residents’ LifeLoop profile, usually within the first week of them moving in. When the family members have access to the calendar through LifeLoop, it gives them a conversation starter with their family member, especially those who aren't in the area and don't get to see them all the time. It just helps build more of an organic bond with them when they can connect about the day's activities and events. And I, I find also that our sales team is really helpful talking about LifeLoop when they're doing tours. And so when they come to move in, the family members already have an idea of what LifeLoop is, and they're already asking, how can I get on LifeLoop? How can I get connected? So that's really helpful.

Paige Mantel: That's great. And what are some of the key things family members are doing through the app to help? Is it transportation requests, is it looking at the day's calendar? What do you see as kind of the top uses by the family members?

Kayla Pierce: I think, just those 2 mainly. I find residents, especially if their sons or daughters are taking care of their doctor appointments, they can go in and put in the transportation request. They can view what upcoming transportation they have. And then also the calendar, seeing what's happening for the day, being able to talk to them about what they did that day, what activities did you go to. But also for the future, and seeing, Oh, they're having, you know, this big event coming up, I think I'm gonna go join Mom or dad for it. So they're just in the know of what's happening within the community. And also for when it comes to announcements, it's really helpful to get more participation from family members. So if we have big events that are coming up, we can send out a flyer. We have, you know, an Easter egg hunt coming up; sending out a flyer to try and get some grandkids and great-grandkids to join. It's a really helpful tool for communicating with the family members.

Paige Mantel: Great, great. And I know Joseph touched on a little bit, but I would love to hear your perspective around your staff, your activities team with using technology. How does that help them be efficient and get more time with the residents?

Joseph Villanueva: I think, you know, earlier in the in the call, we kind of alluded to that a bit where it's really keeping them efficient and minimizing the time that they need to spend on the administrative side of things. And the more comfortable they become with the technology that we have here, it's the more time or the less time they spend behind their desk and the more time they spend in front of the residents, and I really think that that is the biggest driver. I talk with the team a lot about trying to find in your day-to-day what feels redundant, what feels like, Oh, this is taking too much time. And the more that we get feedback from our team, the more we can incorporate these types of technologies in order to minimize that task. But it really, it's a significant help. It's just now trying to identify where it is we can find those little areas where we can minimize the administrative side of things through technology.

Paige Mantel: And how, when you see your staff using technology, is it—is it helping them enjoy their job more because they're spending more time with residents, or how do they feel about it?

Joseph Villanueva: It is. It's helping them to enjoy their job more. I think many of the people who come to work for us have worked in this industry and have worked at competitors, and everybody has sometimes, everybody has a little bit different technology, sometimes we share the same. So being able to hear that feedback from a new associate where it was done a different way, and then now they're doing it this way, and they find it to be more efficient, and they find it to be less tedious. I think in anybody's role, the easier that we can make the day-to-day tasks, the easier that we can make their day, and I think that it has a good result overall, because they do enjoy their job more, and then they do get the time to spend on the right things, which is being in front of the residents in whatever department you're in.

Paige Mantel: Yeah. Yeah. Happy staff, happy residents, right?

Joseph Villanueva: Exactly. Yeah.

Paige Mantel: And, Joseph, I'd love to hear a little bit more about your sales team. It sounds like they're using LifeLoop to help attract new residents to your community. Can you share more about that?

Joseph Villanueva: Sure, I think as Kayla said, I think her and her team are doing a wonderful job in terms of the programming, in the events that we have. And I think when you have any new prospect or potential resident coming into senior living and looking at the community and having a community experience with our sales team, for the most part, it's the events, activities, and dining that drive their want to be here. And when you have a community that is doing well, as well as ours that Kayla and her team are delivering on, I think it's an easy sell, because this is just what we do all the time, and to be able to see that I think, is wonderful. So it's really making it easy for our sales team, because we have a great product, and the team delivers well, so I think it's really easy layout for them in order to be able to just invite somebody in and say, Why don't you just come and join a program, and it'll speak for itself. So I think it's a great benefit from the sales team and for driving our business.

Paige Mantel: Great, and I'll just remind the our audience if you have any questions for Kayla or Joseph, feel free to put those in the Q&A box. Kayla, wanna go back to you. Obviously, you have created an amazing art of living well program at The Kensington. What are some of the favorite activities for your residents? What are some of the most, the highest-rated activities?

Kayla Pierce: I would say, exercise classes are the most popular, the most attended. And then we have other, you know, activities like we have a ceramics class, the residents really enjoy jewelry making, happy hour is always a ton of people. Go to Happy Hour and family members. So those are just a couple of things.

Paige Mantel: Yeah. Well, and when I was there, I saw that exercise class. You almost need a bigger room. That was a big activity room you have, and it was packed. They love that. And it's wonderful to see that. Excellent. Joseph, back to you. A lot of our audience members are beginning their journey with using LifeLoop technology. What advice would you have for them in adopting it and having their staff adopted, and residents and family members? What advice would you have for them?

Joseph Villanueva: I think I would say, be curious. Be curious and learn as much as you can early on, because the sooner that you become comfortable with this platformb the more time you'll be able to have in front of the residents. So, I think that change in any job that we do, and any task can be seen as overwhelming. But the sooner that you become curious with it and adopt it, the easier and better not only your life will be, your team's life will be, but the outcomes for the residents as well.

Paige Mantel: Great, great. And, Kayla, what advice would you have for people adopting and using LifeLoop technology?

Kayla Pierce: I definitely think just getting everybody on board, sharing, talking about it, having those one-on-one trainings. Getting them signed up, training the staff. I mean, it's very simple to learn how to use.

Paige Mantel: Excellent, excellent! Let me check to see if we have any questions from our audience. Alright, I think that's all of our questions. Kayla or Joseph, any other final comments or stories you'd like to share with our audience before we wrap up?

Kayla Pierce: I don't have anything else. I think it's a wonderful program to have in the community. And it definitely saves time from, you know, out of the staff's day.

Joseph Villanueva: I thank you for having the call. I don't have too much more to add, but I think this was a great session, and hopefully, if there's other questions that come up and we can help anybody else to adopt it, we'll be happy to answer those questions, too.

Paige Mantel: Thank you. Well, you're certainly, the two of you are a beacon of light. We loved hearing your stories and your best practices as a Communities That Shine award winner. You certainly know how to use technology to improve the resident experience, create amazing, satisfied staff, and connecting the family members. So thank you so much for your time today. And thank you everybody for joining us. We have our next webinar in 2 weeks on May 8th with another Communities That Shine award winner, The Pearl at Jamestown. I hope you'll be able to join us for that, and for those of you that are interested in learning more about the LifeLoop products and services, please let us know by answering the short survey that you'll see when you exit this webinar. Our team would be happy to follow up and schedule a personalized demo for you and your team.

Thank you everybody again. Thank you, Kayla, and thank you, Joseph. Have a wonderful day.

Joseph Villanueva: Thank you. Have a good day.


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