Focus groups help shape Riderwood communications

By Shanna Gordon

Member, Communications Committee

This January, the Riderwood Communications Committee sought out the voices of a diverse group of residents through nine focus group sessions.  In independent living, we randomly selected participants and invited them to attend one of two sessions held in their clubhouse. We also held a focus group during the February Family Council meeting to take a pulse on how we communicate with the families of Arbor Ridge residents. The data we collected throughout these nine sessions was surprising.  Because of the random selection process, we heard from many residents with whom administration and the RAC don’t regularly have discourse.

A key takeaway from these sessions was that Riderwood staff needs to do a better job of following up when issues are brought to our attention. Be it in monthly Conversations with Administration, emails to a director, letters, etc., we need to ensure that questions and concerns are addressed in a timely manner. We are working with administration to have a designated “log-keeper” of issues brought up in our various Q&A sessions to make sure appropriate staff are aware of these concerns, and ensure prompt response.

We also heard that some forms of communication work better than others. The committee has been working with our Resident Life team to investigate better practices for organizing bulletin boards. We also heard that some TV programming was being underutilized, and we discussed our findings with the TV studio team. You may have already noticed some changes, with more structured programming that uses an interview format rather than relying on call-in questions. We have more action in the pipeline from our survey data and will make sure to spread the word as we progress.

Most excitingly, the committee is planning to hold regular focus group sessions. After our first nine focus groups, we saw how critical it is to engage with many unique residents to effectively drive communications improvements. We want to hear from long-time residents and take the pulse of those just moving in. We will randomly select residents for these focus groups, so be on the lookout in your cubby for invitations!

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