How to Increase Synergy in Assisted Living Facilities Through Behavioral Health

Building relationships with other residents is essential. But for the transition to ALF to be successful, it is equally critical for new residents and their families to establish relationships with the facility’s team.

Social contacts are one of the main pillars of good behavioral health. These contacts are essential for seniors who are transitioning into low-level residential care facilities like assisted living communities. 

Creating synergies between assisted living facilities staff, residents, and families improves the quality of care and the resident’s quality of life.

Before considering facility synergies, it is worth revisiting the meaning of behavioral health. The term is often used synonymously with mental health, but significant differences exist. 

The Power of Behavioral Health Care

Behavioral health care is specifically concerned with developing and maintaining positive habits that help preserve physical and mental health balance. In the context of assisted living, these beneficial cognitive habits may include regular eating patterns, help with medication management, and encouragement to exercise. These habits also create opportunities to socialize and connect with others in many cases. 

Research has shown that strong social relationships are the best predictor of well-being. Scientists have ranked family relationships highest, but their results showed clear benefits of having ties to fellow residents and nonfamily members.

Good behavioral habits are as critical to overall health as physical and mental health aspects. They help manage physical challenges like declining health. In addition, they can also prevent mental health challenges like a low mood from developing into long-term conditions.

Easing the Transition

Moving into a residential care setting like an assisted living facility is a big step for most people. This move may feel final for the person who is giving up independent living. Family members might experience guilt over their inability to care for their loved ones at home.

Behavioral health professionals understand the implications and the importance of this transition. They are well placed to help everyone involved settle into the new situation. It may mean working together with a behavioral health professional to put new routines for the new resident. 

For family members, it is often essential to establish trust and reassure them that their loved ones are well cared for. 

Easing the transition and building this relationship between staff, new residents, and family members starts before moving. Most families and prospective residents visit several assisted living facilities before choosing their new permanent residence. Those visits are perfect opportunities for all parties to get to know each other and build those synergies between the facility, the resident, and the family. 

Building a Strong Support Team

For many families, the decision to move a parent or loved one into assisted living is not easy. However, by choosing a reputable facility with an excellent level of care, the move can ensure older family members enjoy a high quality of life for years, if not decades. 

The relationship between the assisted living facility’s team, the resident, and the resident’s family is critical. Think of those three parties as a team with individual strengths. Each team member has something to contribute. At the same time, each team member needs to flesh out their role. 

Ensuring Residents’ Well-Being

For the resident, building a relationship with the facility’s team is just as important, if not more so, as is meeting other residents. The facility’s team is there to offer support with day-to-day chores, fundamental medical issues, and other concerns. As staff and residents get to know each other better, the relationship deepens and can quickly become a friendship. 

This relationship is critical to the resident’s well-being. Here is an example: assuming your facility’s team notices that a new resident is prone to forgetting their medication. The proper behavioral health support can help build bridges and create little reminders for the resident. And if those health behaviors should fail one day, the team will immediately notice that there are changes in the resident’s demeanor. It is only possible when your team has basic behavioral health knowledge.

Addressing Family Guilt

In many cases, family members cared for or supported their loved ones before the move. If the move became necessary because family members could no longer provide the new resident’s level of support, they might experience guilt. Feeling guilty can make them uneasy around their family members, which further increases discomfort during visits. 

Behavioral health counseling can address those issues and build a bridge for residents to talk to their family members. The counseling session generally only involves a behavioral health professional and the new ALF resident. But addressing family-related issues creates synergies that reach further. 

Redefining Roles

While it may feel that family members can take a step back now that their loved one has moved into assisted living, this is an opportunity to redefine their role. They no longer need to be the primary carer. Instead, they can focus on enjoying their family time together without too many obligations. 

Even though it may look like a resident’s family took a step back when the older adult moved into an assisted living facility, this is not the case. The resident’s family remains a critical part of the support team to help senior family members live life. 

Critical Factors to Help Establish Synergies

Current scientific research has shown that four factors are essential to building collaborative relationships between family members and staff. Those factors are:

  • Communication
  • Confidence
  • Comfort
  • Consultation

Facilities that work with residents and their families to build an environment where those components feature will deliver the best possible quality of care. Behavioral health care programs can help turn those buzzwords into daily routines

Behavioral health counseling can benefit everyone involved in the relationship by addressing cognitive behaviors and building pathways to positive habits. Behavioral health professionals are also qualified to assess a new resident’s risk of mental health challenges. By recognizing those early, interventions based on behaviors and lifestyle changes can significantly impact. 

Bringing family members into the conversation then helps to reinforce and reiterate beneficial routines. 

Bringing Behavioral Health Care to Your Facility

Offering behavioral health care can transform your entire assisted living facility without causing additional costs. Programs like TrueCare™’s behavioral health scheme are fully approved and funded by Medicare. That means neither the facilities nor its residents need to pay more. 

Moreover, there is no need to expand your in-house team. Our team will merge with your team, giving you access to behavioral health services when you need them. Over time, we can train your team in behavioral health care, creating stronger relationships and synergies between staff, residents, and families. 

The result? Happy residents enjoy their retirement and become an integral part of your assisted living community. High retention rates will follow suit naturally. 

About TrueCare™

TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.