How Kingswood Senior Living Unified Its Communication Strategy with Caremerge

Every senior living community has a unique story to tell about 2020. But through the ups and downs, communities have emerged more resilient, more connected, and more equipped to handle any crisis. 

Todd Whitmarsh has one such story. He’s the Resident Services Director at Kingswood Senior Living in Kansas City, MO. Over the past year, he’s overhauled the community’s communications systems with the help of Caremerge. Todd has seen firsthand how technology can transform operational processes and connect residents, even in isolation.

Here’s a preview of how Todd has used Caremerge to bring his community together in the midst of the pandemic. To hear him speak about his experience live,

Kingswood Taps into the Platform’s Full Potential

When Todd arrived at Kingswood four years ago, the community had Caremerge in place but wasn’t really using it. He set out to see what it could do.

Kingswood now uses five of Caremerge’s solutions:

Todd first played around with the activity calendar feature, and he quickly realized it could save him a lot of manual scheduling and loop more residents into Kingswood programming. Soon after, Kingswood added Caremerge’s Family Engagement and Community Engagement solutions to the mix. Todd and his colleagues began to save even more time they would have spent printing announcements and playing phone tag with family members.

Then came the pandemic, and Kingswood introduced Caremerge Voice and Broadcast as the community headed into lockdown. Both tools have been an immense help the past year in keeping residents and families up to date.

Kingswood Saves Hours and Spreads Joy Each Day with Broadcast

The challenge with COVID-19 is that the pandemic newscycle moves faster than paper. By the time Todd had put together the next letter announcement to send to residents’ mailboxes, Kingswood’s status would have changed.

With Caremerge’s Broadcast feature, Todd no longer needs to spend hours in the marketing department printing the latest batch of letters. He can just draft the update online and go.

Efficiency isn’t the only advantage of broadcast communications. Todd has also turned to it to boost morale in the community during lockdowns.

“Each time we’ve been in lockdown, I’ll use the broadcast to do a joke of the day – some stupid dad joke to make people laugh. We’ve even done bingo over broadcast,” Todd said.

Residents Discover the Ease of Caremerge Voice

Residents were skeptical when Kingswood first rolled out Caremerge Voice. Some expected that it would be too high-tech and too cumbersome to use, but Kingswood residents have come to really enjoy having Alexa around.

Caremerge Voice has enabled the Kingswood team to…

  • Broaden its digital communication reach
  • Efficiently share important updates with residents
  • Help residents get acquainted with new technology

Alongside broadcast communications, Caremerge Voice has been a key channel for circulating key information to the community. Todd now puts all of his announcements on Caremerge Voice, and residents can ask for community updates as easily as they can ask about the day’s activity calendar. 

Caremerge Voice has eliminated the main barrier many residents encountered using the Caremerge website: they couldn’t remember their login. What’s great about Alexa for seniors is that they can get the same information as the written channels they’re used to by simply asking Alexa, without having to navigate a complicated technology interface.

To help residents get oriented with the Echo Dots, Todd holds a “Tech Time” to go over how to do commands and answer frequently asked questions. He says a number of residents who were at first intimidated by the Echos have responded really well to his education.

What’s Next: Connecting the Whole Kingswood Community Digitally 

While tech adoption has certainly gone smoothly for many residents, it hasn’t been a universal conversion. Some residents still have a typewriter in their library, after all.

But Todd hopes that he can show more of the Kingswood community the benefits of the Caremerge platform and Alexa for seniors in time. Caremerge Voice is only used by Kingswood’s independent living residents currently, and he would like to bring it to assisted living, where he thinks the tool could make a huge difference in day-to-day assistance.

In the meantime, Todd continues to enjoy the time he saves each day by managing communications digitally. “Why weren’t we using these tools five years ago?”
Want to hear the rest of Todd’s story?

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