Surprised by Community Survey Responses
We sent out our first community survey in January. Last month we shared our initial thoughts about the survey results. (Here’s a link to the blog post about the first survey). We surveyed a single community to test our survey prototype and process. So we lack comparative information between communities. And we don’t know if these results are representative of the industry, good, or bad.
Graphs posted below summarize the response from each question. We’ree sharing this detail only with our newsletter readers. Why? Our newsletter goes to a small group. We believe you’ll find the survey details interesting. By providing this summary we’re asking for your critiques and suggestions.
The survey focused on the unique value propositions of a continuing care retirement. Many of these promised benefits are intangibles that must be viewed from the eyes of the residents. Our goal is to use a survey as a window-view into each community. A view you won’t get from literature or tours. So we are asking for your insights. What did we miss? What should we have asked and how should we change future survey’s?
The graphs below summarize the survey questions and associated responses. We received a response from thirty-percent of our questionnaires. That’s a strong response rate. We appreciate the generosity of community we selected for this first survey! Many respondents also added notes and suggestions to their survey responses.
We looked at data correlations. For instance, are younger or older residents more likely to be lonely? Is longevity in the community associated with engagement or other value propositions? Correlations may be either positive or negative. Correlations can tell us if a community is better at different stages of life in a CCRC.
Years lived at this community was positively correlation with the level of community engagement. See the results from question number one above. Those in total agreement with this question lived an average of 9 years at this community. Those who somewhat agreed, 2 years. And somewhat disagree, 2 months.
Respondent’s wrote the most comments on Question 2. They thought the question was confusing. We plan to separate this question in future surveys into two questions for clarity. We need to separate physical activity from social engagement. Question 2 also showed a positive correlation with age and years lived at the community.
Question 3 had the highest level of non-responses. 23% chose not to respond to this question. Does this question need more definition? Do we need to change the terminology? Or should a non-response be treated as a, “No.” Given that all answers are from the same community this told us something. Is it confusion around the term “wellness plan”? Is is uncertainty if the community had an individualized plans? A question for further follow-up.
The responses to question 4 reaffirmed our opinion of CCRC residents. Eighty-seven percent (87%) agree that they are happy most of the time. Now, who doesn’t want to live with a community with this type of resident? This is a central promise or value proposition for a CCRC.
The follow-up question is how unique is this level of happiness to this community? We intend to find out.
Responses to question 5 both surprised and disappointed us. Twenty-six percent (26%) reported being often lonely. We believe a primary benefit of a CCRC is the avoidance of being lonely. So this response surprised us.
Respondents who reported being lonely also reported engagement with the community. Why then are they often lonely? Is it the level of engagement? Are community activities offered not satisfying? Is independent living too independent? Is community an inadequate substitute for a lost spouse or friends?
The surveyed community dates back thirty years with periodic additions and updates. Residents believed the existing facilities and grounds were well-maintained with a few vocal exceptions.
This community’s architecture will not win any design awards. It is an older community. Design choices have changed a lot in this industry in 30 years. Several residents point out future planned updates and additions.
We wondered if the architectural design related to the sense of loneliness. If so, the respondent’s don’t seem to perceive it as related. There was no correlation between lonely (Q5) and respondent’s opinion on the architecture (Q7) — good or bad.
We did not ask where each resident lived in the survey. A few comments pointed this out and asked that we add that to future surveys. Knowing level of living arrangements would enhance the demographic questions. We don’t know if there are differences between those living in the independent cottages compared with those in the multi-story apartments. We relied upon public records for names and addresses for the residents. But we found these records were not completely accurate.
The resident’s seem to love the staff. The survey responses are a ringing endorsement for the community’s management team.
Again, this is the response you’d expect from a well-managed CCRC. Very reassuring.
As an older community, a terrific level of agreement with the community’s strategic plan.
Again, a positive response to question 12.
Question 13 had several comments. Residents have mixed feelings about the quality of the meals.
A Community’s Personality
What did we learn from this first survey? Our goal is to develop a prototype survey that captures each community’s personality. We’re excited about how well this survey defined a personality profile of this community. We plan to continue tweaking and testing.
Personality has power to uplift, power to depress, power to curse, and power to bless. ~ Paul Harris