• The entrance

    Clearly marking a community's entrance helps get visits off to a good start.

  • The mindset

    Reserving spaces for "future residents" rather than "visitors" could help prospective residents imagine a future at the community.

  • The lobby

    Seeing residents enjoy the lobby conveys that it is a useful space as well as a beautiful one.

  • The mission

    Prominently displaying a plaque helps communicate that the community is serious about its mission.

  • Hospitality

    A beverage station in the lobby area can make visitors feel welcome.

  • Events calendar

    A framed listing of the day's events gives prospective residents a taste of community life and helps current residents.

  • What is there to eat?

    Posting menus helps residents plan the day and helps visitors assess food offerings.

  • What is there to eat?

    Posting menus helps residents plan the day and helps visitors assess food offerings.

  • And when?

    Posting meal times is informative for visitors and a helpful reminder for residents.

  • New programs

    Displaying information about new programs is one good way to ensure that people know about them.

  • Achievements

    Posting internal and external achievements can convey that the community cares about quality and can be a source of pride for employees.

  • More feedback

    Comment cards on the tables, and appropriate follow-up, let diners know that their opinions matter.

  • One big family

    A wall of employee photos conveys staff harmony.

  • Art

    A wall of art by residents can be a source of beauty and pride.

  • Feedback

    "Mission Award" cards available at the front desk empower residents with the ability to nominate exceptional staff members for recognition.

  • The online experience

    Before visiting, older adults and their families often visit a community's website. A comprehensive website makes a good first impression, too, especially at a time when many industry professionals view community websites as their most effective marketing channels.

Little things can add up when prospective residents and their families visit a senior living community. And they can mean much to residents living in a community as well. Here are some of the things Senior Editor Lois A. Bowers noticed at Brookdale Westlake Village in Westlake, OH, when she visited at the invitation of the Where You Live Matters campaign. Some efforts are responses to regulations, but some are implementations of companywide standards or industry best practices that aren’t necessarily found at all senior living communities. They are some of what differentiates one community from another and are part of why it matters where one lives.