OHCA The Oregon Caregiver Spring Summer 2022

The Oregon Caregiver SPRING/SUMMER 2022 www.ohca.com 26 SPONSORED CONTENT It’s no secret that staffing and census numbers have both struggled for the past two years, in an industry that already deals with high burnout and turnover rates. Even though there are still tough times with slow-to-recover hiring and move-in rates, there is hope on the horizon. Keeping both staff and residents engaged and feeling valued will be key to growing a new community culture in the years ahead. Like most senior living communities in 2022, there have been a lot of new faces gracing the hallways as staff turnover has reached record levels. Those faces bring with them a myriad of new and interesting life experiences and cultural practices that can help brighten residents’ days. Employers may have an opportunity to not only enrich the resident experience but contribute to workplace retention efforts in the process. Recent surveys show that younger workers in particular are looking to work for companies that align with their values. Additionally, younger generations are made up of more ethnically and culturally diverse groups than older generations. When it comes to staffing, it’s clear that employees want to know they are valued by their employers. While compensation is one avenue where expectations among jobseekers has grown, there are other conditions that new employees are looking for. Employees in senior living often thrive due to the relationships that they form with residents. Give employees the chance to enhance these relationships by contributing something from their own traditions and cultures to the residents that they care for. More than just an activity to pass the time, involving staff in resident engagement can help resident cultural needs and preferences be met (a requirement) while also broadening the horizons of all residents. While the majority of senior living residents identify as white, there are demographic shifts being seen as new generations enter the senior living pipeline. For many baby boomers, their preferences include access to a wider variety of cuisines, arts, and activities than ever before. Bolster dining and activities programs by engaging all staff in a request to share traditions on a regular basis. Put out a general call for volunteers among ALL staff. Don’t target certain staff members because of their ethnicity. Ask employees to submit a recipe or activity idea to share with residents, then contact interested parties. Talk with department heads to ensure that interested staff members can step away from their regular duties to participate, if needed. Here are some ideas to get you going! Dining: • Monthly tasting and cultural immersion • Voting on a new regular menu dish • Help prepare a dish to sample Activities: • Present a slideshow or photos of travels • Share music and art from various cultures • Learn a new traditional craft Demonstrating that employees can contribute to resident wellbeing by sharing their heritage and traditions will create a culture where staff feel valued for who they are, residents are enriched, and relationships are deepened.  Jen Bruning is the director of nutrition and brand innovation with Incite Strategic Partners, OHCA’s purchasing partner and an OHCA business partner. This article has been sponsored and provided by Incite Strategic Partners. Tap into Staff to Refresh Resident Engagement By Jen Bruning, MS, RDN, LDN, Incite Strategic Partners