Satisfied and Engaged!

I can remember from my earliest school years the trepidation that report card time would bring. Many of us can relate to having others grade our efforts, our mastery of complex ideas or processes or our artistic and musical performances. At United Church Homes, we have improved and expanded the way we solicit feedback on our performance from our residents, clients and patients. It’s crucial for us to learn where folks are feeling satisfied, so we can continue doing our good work even better. Likewise, we want to learn where there are gaps creating points of dissatisfaction. Because transparency is one of our core values, we believe in facing the facts and being totally honest with ourselves, especially.

A pleasant surprise came in 2018 when the Holleran organization, a national company that assesses resident satisfaction, determined that our Glenwood Community in Marietta, Ohio, had been recognized for its top-level performance for resident satisfaction and engagement in the country. Satisfaction focuses on the basics of dining services, housekeeping and other concerns of comfort and quality. Engagement, however, measures the degree to which people feel involved in their community and the world. Are there opportunities to give voice and share concerns as management contemplates changes? Are there avenues to pursue new interests, learn new things and develop new intellectual, artistic or spiritual dimensions? Nationally, these have become more significant markers of distinction and quality in senior living, and at Glenwood Community, our residents overwhelmingly feel engaged!

As a result of their findings, Holleran invited Glenwood residents and key staff to participate in an educational presentation at the national convention of LeadingAge last October. Executive Director Linda Dailey, along with several residents, spoke to participants on why the quality of life and engagement is so rich and vibrant at Glenwood. While it’s a smaller community with fewer than 200 residents, Glenwood has a very active resident association, an arts program, a greenhouse and a series of educational programs and volunteer opportunities that many residents enjoy. The community provides the foundation that undergirds involvement and enrichment — in short, engagement. Read more about it in our lead story on page 2.

This issue spotlights a number of examples of how United Church Homes, our staff and residents are taking engagement to even higher levels. We strive to provide support for our residents to engage in life fully in as many ways as is possible. The human spirit doesn’t diminish with time. It seeks ever deeper sources of meaning and satisfaction, bringing abundance to the experience of aging.