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Role of a Community Navigator

As a marketing partner to a number of senior living communities, one of our main objectives at GlynnDevins is to motivate prospective residents to move to your community. But what happens once a resident makes the big move? Do you offer a “buddy system” and pair new residents with a neighbor or resident ambassador to get them acquainted with all your community has to offer? Or do you have a resident-led welcome committee that has processes in place to ensure a positive experience for new residents? Introducing new residents to the vibrant lifestyle at your community is the next step of the customer journey, and the process in which you communicate and essentially “onboard” new residents requires a similar strategy as to how you enticed them to move to your community in the first place.

Recently, I attended a planning meeting with a group of retirement community executives. One executive shared that he needed to improve the new resident experience at his community. Besides a welcome visit from the executive director, they had no formal introduction to the community.

As the roundtable continued, another executive offered up a solution by discussing a new role they implemented at their community a year ago. The “Community Navigator” is a full-time employee who is solely responsible for making certain that new residents have a smooth transition into community life. Since implementation, the success of this program has been phenomenal. Why? The Community Navigator provides each resident with access to the wonderful world of community life, from assisting with the move-in process to introducing new residents to community leadership and other residents. Each new resident receives individual, personalized attention from the same staff member during their entire first year of residency at the community. A strong bond develops and the new resident has someone to turn to when they have questions or needs. The Community Navigator also ensures each resident receives a wellness assessment, encourages them to become involved in activities on campus, and tracks the resident’s progress throughout the year. The goal is for the resident to become engaged in regular social, intellectual, recreational and cultural activities to benefit their overall health and wellness.

As research proves, engaged residents are happy residents, and happy, engaged residents are more likely to tell their friends about their new lifestyle, generating referrals for their communities. The Navigator role helps make this significant life change a bit easier. And we all know change is difficult. What are you doing to make life a little better for your new residents?


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