The Real Deal: Life at Seasons Retirement HomesI have worked in the marketing sector of the seniors housing industry for twelve years, and one of my favourite assignments has been to interview residents at Seasons about their experiences there. In marketing, it’s our job to paint a picture about what it will be like to live in a retirement residence. It was hugely rewarding to know that at Seasons, you really can believe the hype.
Here are some of the highlights of what I learned:
One really is the loneliest number
We’ve all heard stories about seniors living alone, existing on tea and toast at mealtime, basically living out of one comfy chair in front of the TV. We know close family members often bear the burden of caring for these seniors, running errands, making medical appointments, cooking or cleaning. Loneliness was among the most common reasons people gave for moving to Seasons, but surprisingly, many didn’t realize they were lonely at home until they moved in. New friendships, the rekindling of old ones, and enjoying quality time with family members instead of calling them to help, made many residents say they wish they had moved to Seasons sooner.
Downsizing can be downright ugly
Leaving a home you have lived in your entire adult life can be a crippling roadblock to moving. The residents’ stories touched my heart, reminding me that this process is more than just the sale of a house or giving away old furniture; it’s the act of leaving behind treasured memories and admitting that it’s time to move on. For those residents who needed it, Seasons allowed them to move in slowly over the course of a month, patiently encouraging but not rushing them. Not surprisingly, the most successful transitions from home to residence happened because there was a lot of physical and emotional support.
“It doesn’t get better than this!”
The people I spoke to were relieved that life at Seasons was as good as advertised. They told me they were happy to maintain their independence, and that in many cases, they were much more active than they were at home. Daily activities such as games, fitness classes, clubs and choir practice gave them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. And just about everyone wanted to talk about the quality of the food. Want steak every day? No problem! The dinner meal offers a choice between two served daily specials, as well as a list of alternatives that residents can request at any time. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style, which many felt was ideal for selecting whatever, and as much as, they liked.
Excellent service starts with excellent staff
The Seasons experience attempts to exceed residents’ expectations for excellent customer service. I was given countless examples of cheerful, helpful, competent and compassionate staff members, and I was struck by how effectively the Seasons service philosophy has come to life. One resident I spoke to adored macaroni and cheese. At her residence, it was made with seafood, which “ruined it” for her. So, the chef now makes a separate seafood-free plate for her. Big or small, thoughtful gestures make all the difference in the life of a resident, and demonstrate Seasons’ willingness to ‘walk the talk’.
By Amanda White
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Have you had an amazing experience at Seasons, or do you know someone who has? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.