The most important thing a senior community can do for residents and owners is to create and promote activities that allow seniors to continue to contribute to society.
The most important thing a senior community can do for residents’ families, the marketplace they operate in, and owners is to create and promote activities that allow seniors to continue to contribute to society. A couple of weeks ago, I came across a story titled Festival of Trees at Stonebridge Senior Living of Burlington After reading the story on line I called the community to get the inside scoop on what they did.
Festival of Trees
Stonebridge at Burlington, a 110 unit IL/AL/Memory Care community in Burlington, MA. purchased 40 three-foot tall artificial trees and made them available to individuals, groups and businesses to decorate. After they were decorated, they were returned to the community and put on display for the residents and the community to enjoy. Finally the community sold raffle tickets for the trees.
- Those who decorated the trees included groups of residents, resident families, employees, the chamber of commerce, the fire department, the police department, the senior center, local residents, the recreation center and a number of local businesses.
- When the trees were returned to the community to be put on display people were asked to vote for their favorites.
- They held a gala reception where additional raffle tickets were sold, with carolers and food and drink provided.
- The trees were raffled off, raising more than $1,200 that was donated to an organization that supports kids living in poverty.
A perfect activity
As I have previously written, I am convinced that many of the Resident Life programs in most senior communities send a subtle but real message that residents no longer have value to the world: they are just being warehoused (albeit in a luxury warehouse) until they die. A key initiative for every senior community ought to be creating opportunities for residents to continue contribute, to add value to the world. This activity is a perfect example of a way to do that.
- It integrates the senior community and, by extension, the resident into the broader community.
- It gets a huge variety of people from different walks of life into the community.
- The residents are able to make a real difference in the lives of some children who are desperately in need.
- It was a way to get the entire staff involved in this giving back initiative.
These are the very best kinds of marketing events because they make this community the “go to” place for senior living in the minds of the community. we wonder if anyone else did Christmas-themed giving back projects that involved residents and their staff this Christmas. We would love to write about them. Steve Moran
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Steve: I always enjoy reading your posts,…. but this one is especially nice! It really gets to the heart of Cause Related Marketing and at the same time involves the seniors themselves. Thanks for bringing it to our attention! Sandy
Thanks for sharing this story. What a great way to keep the residents involved, engaged and contributing to their community. Nobody should ever feel like they are worthless, this is a neat idea to be sure the residents realize they have continued purpose and value.
When I was a kid we fixed up our big tree in the living room and one day the whole thing fell over and crashed to the floor. I much prefer walking in a forest although that helps me and not the poor,.
As the Director of a senior day center I am always looking for new ideas to raise our ol’ folks self-esteem. This idea is wonderful!
My staff is planning its first ever SubZeroHeroes jump for the Alz. Assoc. on Feb. 1st.
With permission of the gift givers we are re-directing any cash gifts we received to sponsor our jump. We have made piggy banks for our elders to donate their coins and we will have them make our signs for the big day. While only staff are jumping into the frigid water, it has become a community project and we are all excited at the opportunity.
Marketing Director at Elmhurst, The House of Friendship, Wheeling, WV
Elmhurst, The House of Friendship, originally a Victorian mansion from the Bloch Brother’s Tobacco Co. family, with two modern additions, opened its doors to the public last year at the Christmas season to share the splendor of 22 uniquely decorated trees throughout the residence. Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand with treats for the children. Girl Scouts served as elves. Many residents proudly opened their doors for visitors to peek at their own holiday decorations and served as greeters on the four floors. A list of the trees’ names, their locations, etc., was provided. Our partners in education children brought choirs to provide live caroling. They also made ornaments for four partners’ trees that were delightful. A crock pot with the scents of the season provided a welcome aroma. There is no charge for admission. Young and old alike visited, took home brochures, and asked questions of the staff. Facebook provided pictures of the event. A superb success!
Really enjoyed the article! Everyone no matter what age always needs something to look forward to, to feel worthy , to feel purposeful and to also contribute to things that were part of normalcy in day to day routines..,, very key feature to exhibit and keep alive!
Steve, we certainly enjoyed this inspiring story! At Tradition Senior Living in Dallas, our two communities hosted Holiday Teas for the surrounding communities and invited representatives from The Salvation Army to give the history of this extraordinary organization and give details about The Army’s work locally. Guests were invited to bring toys to each event, and we carted bag-loads to The Salvation Army for Christmas distribution to children.
The Salvation Army is close to us, because in our first community, a remarkable group of residents formed their own 501(c)3 to purchase NEW clothes for the needy, which The Salvation Army distributes primarily to those without work who are going on job interviews. One of the non-profit’s founders spoke about his being the recipient of The Army’s largesse when, as a wounded soldier during WWII, he received financial help and could get it nowhere else. He says he’s been paying them back ever since!
From LinkedIn Groups
I have found in my experience with large communities and my non-profit that one of the biggest factors affecting healthy attitude, which affects health is BEING OF VALUE. As a community and as individuals, being able to contribute – especially to their immediate communities is HUGE. The tree idea is great. Groups like HandsOn in various cities, in partnership with United Way offer ways to present opportunities to volunteers of specific age groups, etc. to contribute to specific tasks such as making blankets, painting, planting, clearing paths on local paths and trails – simpler tasks that get them outside seem to make the most difference in outlook.
By Susan Finch
At The Haven at Springwood I developed a Celebration of Trees. I invited partners and community businesses to come to our residence and bring a tree and decorate it. We opened it up for the residents, families and any visitors to vote for their favorite tree. The winner will receive a cash donation to a charity of their choice. It certainly is a win-win. The residents are enjoying the beauty of the trees and in fact, several residents put trees up themselves. The community businesses and partners get free exposure. We had 12 businesses participate this year but when the word got out we received several additional requests already for next year. It was so positive and awesome.
From LinkedIn Groups
Steve, here are a few:
This year and last year, Grand Prairie of Macomb, an affordable assisted living community that BMA manages, has created a fantastic Christmas light display. The lights dance along to Christmas music. This year’s display featured nearly 50,000 lights.
You can see the video we posted on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I4uxaPndFA
John Evans Supportive Living, an affordable assisted living community that we manage in Pekin, Illinois, participated in a project sponsored by Rosewood Care Center, with residents making Christmas cards for Veterans.
The Heritage Woods of Centralia affordable assisted living community hosted its 5th Annual Walk in the Woods, which featured more than 40 trees that were beautifully decorated by local businesses and community organizations.
Hewritage Woods of Ottawa affordable assisted living community hosted its 3rd Annual Festival of Wreaths Silent Auction. The festival festured more than 50 wreaths decorated by local businesses and by residents. The money raised in the silent auction benefitted the OSF St. Elizabeth Hospital Care-a-Van program.
By Rick Banas
From LinkedIn Groups
As Community Outreach Director for Clarity Pointe Assisted Living Memory Care in Fayetteville, AR, I participated in the Festival of Trees at Gardens of Arkanshire Retirement Community. They had 15 spots for the trees, and health care professionals were invited to come in and select their spot. Trees were decorated on site, which generated a lot of interest from the residents and guests. I worked with the Activity Director to recruit some residents to help me by stringing popcorn and cranberries to go on the tree. They gathered in the activity room and shared stories of days gone by while stringing the decorations. Guess what – my tree won the grand prize! I will share the addition of the fund raising aspect with Arkanshire. What a great idea!
By Linda Vigil