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What “Amazing Accidental Discoveries” Are You Having?

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By Steve Moran

Several weeks ago I started a Facebook Group called Senior Living Professionals. (We would love to have you join if are looking for an online community of passionate senior living leaders). My friend and collaborator on a number of projects, Denise Boudreau-Scott, has started a regular feature she calls “Thank Goodness It’s Monday”. The idea is that you post something good that happened on that Monday or the preceding weekend to kick off your work week with a smile.

I always have something to post, as does she, but we have been a bit surprised how little traction “Thank Goodness it’s Monday” has gotten. I offer that as a backdrop for my conversation with Shaun Anderson, executive director of Sunrise University Park in Colorado Springs, who seems like a “Thank Goodness It’s Monday” kind of a person.

A few weeks ago, we published an article titled “Big Ed Falls In Love With Senior Living at Sunrise," where I relayed Shaun’s story of Big Ed and how having easy, accurate activity tracking made a remarkable difference in the life of one resident and his family. This was my first introduction to Amazing Accidental Discoveries.”

Amazing Accidental Discoveries

How can you not be absolutely drawn to someone who is always talking about Amazing Accidental Discoveries (in a positive way)? I had not met Shaun before, so maybe he only talks about these kinds of discoveries with respect to the Smile™ technology platform but I bet he is someone who sees so many amazing discoveries that his team rolls their eyes (in the fondest way) every time he points out another “amazing accidental discovery”.

Why Amazing Accidental Discoveries Are So Important

Shaun started his senior living adventure as an activity director and continues to be insanely passionate about programming for his residents. His community was selected as a pilot site for the Smile technology and it gave them the ability to easily and accurately manage their activity calendars and effectively track which residents were participating in what activities.  

As he and his team started looking at reports, they were able to make a number of discoveries including:

  • Some activities they thought were really effective actually were not. This allowed them to take those insights and personalize the programming to reflect the interests of residents.

  • They were able to identify residents who were not attracted to the “standard fare” activity offerings and understand what kinds of things would better serve their needs.

  • They were able to identify residents that had gaps in programming and engagement and help enhance their quality of life

  • Through the reports, they were able to demonstrate to families that their loved ones were actually living full lives. At Sunrise, family communication is so important, and these reports allow Shaun and management to have meaningful conversations with families

  • They were able to identify popular and effective activities and figure out how to do more of that.

Data and Life Enrichment – My Perspective

The conversation was for me an “amazing accidental discovery” because, while I knew senior living organizations tracked activity participation, I saw it as mostly a defensive act in case someone ever questioned providing care for residents.  

The idea that data could be used to supercharge life enrichment was my "amazing accidental discovery” for the day.

Would this make your programming better?


You can check out what they do at Smile™ Technology Platform by CarexTech, a Senior Housing Forum Partner.


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