Sometimes executive directors may need

to stand their ground, especially when it comes to resident comfort and safety. “Things were happening so fast and furi- ous sometimes,” Fischer said. “I would be toe-to-toe with the construction manager. He’d say, ‘Okay, we are turning the water off today,’ and I would say ‘No, you can’t, I need to notify people. There are things I have to do.’” Foster ran into the same scenario. “There

would be times when they wanted to shut the water off pretty quickly but we would have to say no. We need eight hours’ notice or a day’s notice before we just do some- thing like that,” she said. Contractors say that in order to avoid

such situations, they rely on the executive directors to keep up the dialogue, and to ensure that staff members are available to share key information. “We need to understand their needs,” said

Ryan Null, director of the special services group at Horst Construction. “If we are ren- ovating a dining area or a corridor, they might have specific times of day where they need to use that space. Or they may need a certain number of resident rooms at a certain time.” By working together, the executive direc- tor and the contractor can do more than just set limits around shutting off the water. They can collaborate on ways to lessen the impact of construction. “If we understand in detail what it is

that they need, sometimes we can offer an alternative solution,” Null said. “In some cases, for instance, we have been able to manipulate schedules in order to be out of a certain area, or we have been able to identify alternative spaces for certain activ- ities. Sometimes there are walls coming out and the space itself is changing, so if we go ahead and take those walls down early, we can create some usable space for them to occupy during the rest of the construction.” For that kind of high-level collaboration

to happen, executive directors need to be willing to pull staff members out of their usual routine and give them a chance to in- terface with the contractors to express their specific needs. “We need them to be avail- able to us,” Null said. “We need to be able to communicate to their staff on at least a weekly basis just to keep them up to date

and address any questions or concerns.” In fact, staff at every level can play a key

role in any senior living community’s suc- cessful renovation.

Staffing success When you look at a renovation through the staffing lens, it isn’t an especially pretty pic- ture. Routines get disrupted. People can’t get to the places they need to be to do the work they need to do. Daily and weekly construc- tion updates pull people away from other pressing tasks. Residents may be disgruntled, putting extra pressure on staff members who may already be stretched thin. “We had to retrain staff to serve a buffet,

to get the food out there and replenish it in a timely manner,” Kenah said. “They had to go through common space with the food, moving between residents and then getting the dirty dishes back to the kitchen for cleaning, and we needed them to do that with minimal mess, to be respectful of the fact that we were essentially in the residents’ living room. It was a big change for them.” While the primary focus is always on the

residents, a savvy executive director will realize that managing staff through a renovation is a critical task: No one wants their new common area to come at the cost of massive turnover. Foster recently guided her team through an eight-month renovation that added four assisted living and four memory care resi- dences onto an existing wing. “We would have a daily stand-up meeting each morn- ing and when construction was going on, that was the main topic every day: What’s happening in construction today and what do we need to be aware of?” she said. This exercise was more than merely in-

formational. Foster used these moments to build cohesiveness in her team. “By bringing people together each morn-

ing, they felt they were involved in the process. We would ask their input: ‘What do you think would be the safest way to do this? What ideas do you have about how we can keep the resi- dents away from this area?’” she said. “They liked that feeling of being involved in doing what was best for the residents. These are peo- ple who are hired for their heart, and a lot of times you can tap into that.” Kenah briefed her managers three times each week and she expected them to keep


Dean Maddalena, president of interior design firm studioSIX5, offered four tips for successfully pulling off a senior living community renovation:

• Don’t just plan for now, plan for the future. Trends change, so having neutral spaces allows flexibility with accent pieces that can be changed over time.

• Set a realistic budget that allows for cost escalation pertaining to labor and materials. Create a list of alternates if the budget needs to be scaled back or other components cost more than predicted.

• Create an implementation schedule. Since most renova- tions and repositioning are bud- geted and implemented over a two- to three-year period, it is important to design all aspects of the long-range plan up front.

• Implement the upgrades that will have the largest initial “wow factor” first, to excite current residents and families and start the buzz in the market.

their staffs up to date. Current information is critical in the midst of a renovation, since shifting spaces and evolving needs can dic- tate unexpected staffing changes. The more people know about the process, the readier they will be to jump in as needed. “It helped to have my managers and di-

rectors abreast of everything going on, so that if I had to pull them to do something I didn’t need to give them the whole back story. They knew all about what was hap- pening and could step right in,” she said. As for non-managers or direct care staff,

“they are here to serve the residents, and this is all happening in the residents’ space, so the more they know about what is go- ing on, their easier it is for them to do their jobs,” she said. Her renovations mainly af-


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68