Safer in Senior Living block images of residents, caregivers, families

Looking to “flip the script” on a year of negative headlines in the lay media surrounding the senior living industry, a new campaign is promoting “stories from the inside” to highlight the positive.

The new Safer in Senior Living initiative was launched this month by Peoria, IL-based VirtuSense Technology, a medical equipment supplier, to tout the benefits of senior living communities. The effort seeks to assure prospective residents and their families sector properties are safe and responsive to challenges.

To accomplish this goal, the campaign will share real-world stories focusing on the health and prosperity of older adults, both during and after the pandemic. The idea is to create “a single voice for senior living” by celebrating accomplishments and to “let the world know that older adults really are safer in senior living than at home.”

Continuing care retirement communities that have joined the initiative so far include Larksfield Place Retirement Communities of Kansas; Montgomery Place in Illinois; John Knox Village in Missouri; United Methodist Communities of New Jersey; and Life Enriching Communities of Ohio. All are VirtuSense clients, but the company said that all providers are welcome to participate.

Montgomery Place CEO and President Deborah Hart told McKnight’s Senior Living that the 2020 mass media news cycle was dominated with negative news about senior living.

“The pandemic hit our industry hard, casting a long, dark shadow,” she said. “The positive aspects of proactive planning and responsive crisis management were not newsworthy accomplishments, yet it was these factors that helped us be able to prevent the transmission and spread of the disease remarkably well.”

Hart said Montgomery Place joined the Safer in Senior Living initiative to “change the narrative and “shine a light on all of the truly amazing, compassionate, forward-thinking activity that has occurred in such a short amount of time.”

“Many communities pivoted quickly, and as a result, seniors are safer, healthier and happier for it,” she said. “These stories need telling. We want seniors to feel comfortable joining a community, knowing they will be safe and cared for in future storms.”

Tammy Flaming, director of marketing at Larksfield Place, said her community joined the campaign to raise awareness that “we weren’t all locked up.” She said residents’ worlds didn’t end because of COVID — things just looked a little different.

“Our goal was to keep residents active,” she told McKnight’s Senior Living. “Our philosophy is that we can build residents’ immune systems by creating joy and keeping them busy with stimulating activities.”

The initiative invites CCRC residents, caregivers and long-term care administrators to share their video stories about the benefits of living in senior living communities.

“Let’s flip the script and tell the stories of the tireless CNAs providing round-the-clock care, the administrators who rolled up their sleeves and donned scrubs to keep residents safe and cared for, and the residents themselves who benefited from the extra precautions put in place during the COVID-19 crisis,” the website states.