Communications focus groups lead to action

By Jill Owens

Co-Chair, Communications Committee

The Riderwood Communications Committee conducted several focus group sessions among residents in Independent Living and Arbor Ridge during January and February. This was done to understand how residents felt about the current methods of communication in their communities. Thanks to the participants, this has resulted in several action steps, some of which have already taken place and some of which will be taken in the near future.

Residents stated the following:

• They did not participate in the call-in television shows.

As a result, the call-in shows have been discontinued in favor of more in-depth interviews.

• The TV scrolls were not useful.

As a result, the scrolls have been reduced in number and modified in presentation.

• They did not feel Town Halls and Conversations with Administration resulted in effective change.

As a result, recommendations and suggestions from such meetings will now be tracked by a staff member to ensure there are prompt responses.

• They said the bulletin boards outside the dining rooms were not well organized.

As a result, a joint resident-administration project has provided a cleaner and less cluttered presentation of information which is currently being tested in Lakeside Commons.

• They thought MyErickson and could be effective once they were completely explained and understood.

As a result, there will be continued programs to increase awareness and use of these channels.

• They did not really understand SwiftReach and Swift 911.

As a result, a recent campus-wide test was made of Swift 911, preceded by a cubby flyer explaining both what this service is and how to sign up.

On the other hand:

• Apartment package shelves, cubbies, The Riderwood Reporter, and department discussion groups were effective as they are and do not need any changes.

These focus groups were very helpful in improving Riderwood’s communication practices but there is more to be done. To this end, more focus groups might be scheduled in the future. Please consider participating in one if an invitation shows up in your cubby.

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