Organizational Culture in Senior Living Communities

Our Philosophy  |  June 5, 2020

A Man placing block titled Mission above Vision and Value Blocks

In older adult communities, often called senior living communities, a strong and positive culture can result in more fulfilled residents and more satisfied team members. Communities can collaborate with management organizations whose values are folded into their DNA — from the way staff interact with residents and their families, to opportunities for employee mentorship and support, to the messaging and language within marketing communications. A strong culture will be evident within each of these aspects of community management, and will help differentiate the way the entire community operates.

Cultural values are especially important to the well-being and integration of older adults. A 2011 paper by researcher J.W. Rowe for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society found that policymakers tend to focus on negative economic impacts of aging in the United States.

For older adult community owners and operators, it’s essential that aging populations be respected as part of a cohesive and equitable society, working to create a culture free from intergenerational tensions and focused on rapport and respect between employees and residents.

Michele Holleran, founder and CEO of Holleran community engagement research and consulting firm, suggests that “creating a campus where both employees and residents feel they have meaning and purpose” is one of the key elements of creating a strong culture in an older adult community.

Communication styles, physical environment and the level of daily engagement people feel are some of the factors that affect senior living culture. At its core, culture begins with a sound vision and aligned operational approach. Here are a few things senior living community owners should consider while working toward a strong culture:

Run the organization like a well-oiled machine

When considering how to establish a positive culture in an older adult living community, it is essential to start with the way the business is run. As part of Christian Living Communities,(CLC), Cappella Living Solutions has the vision of creating communities where aging is honored and celebrated. We work to achieve that goal by prioritizing quality care for residents as well as creating a supportive team environment for staff. A business with a clear vision and strong operational foundation can offer more security when it comes to a consistent, supportive and motivated culture

Emphasize Innovation within the Community

Creating a contemporary culture involves embracing change and welcoming innovation — in any type of community. This starts by revolutionizing the workplace to spur greater staff and community engagement in both company operations and social programming for a more satisfying experience from all angles.

Don’t Neglect the Human Element

When it comes to culture, it is also important to take into account the different types of people involved, and how they will be interacting with one another. Culture crosses boundaries of age and title. A strong culture will ensure that people model the company’s values, and that, if conflicts arise, there are fair resolution tactics in place. When employees feel respected and valued, chances are that residents will also feel respected and valued. In addition, a culture of respect and engagement leads to less employee turnover.

Culture is integral to a successful organization. At Cappella Living Solutions, these elements are folded into our culture, part of how every community lives and breathes because it’s all reflected in the company’s mission and values. Here are some reasons why culture is key in our older adult communities:

Strong Leadership Influences a Cohesive Senior Living Culture

Much of an organization’s culture stems from who is in charge. If the leadership models a positive outlook and inclusivity, then those traits are often honored and carried down through the ranks, and felt among both coworkers and clients in the community. Plus, when there’s a strong sense of direction and a solid vision behind the operation, communities tend to be more in-sync. In a senior living scenario, this can influence more cohesive employee bonds and also promote employee retention, since coworkers can rally behind common goals.

Mutual Respect Inspires a More Courteous Senior Living Environment

A strong culture takes into account how people act and interact on a daily basis. It has to do with clear, respectful communication among all people, from management to staff to residents and their guests. From strong customer service to sincerity in building relationships, a culture of respect, hospitality, and kindness lead to more satisfying and positive interactions.

Physical Space can Impact Contentment in an Older Adult Community

The space people occupy has a lot to do with how people feel. When residents feel happy and satisfied, they are more likely to continue living in a community. When employees feel fulfilled, the turnover rate is lower. While leadership and respect are integral to a sense of contentment, elements of the physical environment matter, too. Some elements that can contribute to both resident and employee satisfaction include working and living spaces designed with access to natural light and fresh air and common areas designed for connecting with others, such as recreation rooms and break rooms.

Cappella Living Solutions creates communities where aging is honored and celebrated. As part of this, Cappella is committed to spreading our cultural philosophy through our management and consulting services within senior living communities.

Learn more about our mission and culture at

We own and manage senior living communities alongside our parent company, Christian Living Communities.

Hear what Our Clients Have to Say

"When we moved to Holly Creek we thought about what is visible, such as interiors, apartment layout, dining areas, which are all very nice but after living here for a year we have discovered what is most important is the people that live here and employees, who are all so considerate and kind who are at the HEART of Holly Creek. They make Holly Creek a special place in which to live."

- Don & Carol Furuta, Holly Creek Residents

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