19 Mar Combatting Loneliness for Apartment Residents
Many years ago, a good friend of mine told me that there are three types of people. Those who are about to have a crisis, those who are in a crisis and those who just navigated through a crisis. We all cycle through these 3 stages daily, weekly and yearly. But could any of us imagined that a pandemic would bring us all together in crisis at once on a global scale?
My first thought is a nod to all the doomsday preppers who have been stock piling toilet paper and canned goods for many years. Perhaps a little more planning may have been prudent for me. As a lover of zombie movies, so far this has been an isolating experience and more than a little scary. With clear direction from our government leaders and a good dose of common sense, we will “get by with a little help from our friends”. (Beatles)
The National Apartment Association has provided information as to how to steer through these uncharted waters. The recommended policies, procedures and trainings for our multifamily industry is exceptionally thorough. Another great reason why membership to NAA is invaluable. There are many technologies that we can use to keep our staff safe as well as residents during this national health crisis.
For example, Call Assist 24/7, a customizable interactive voice response call management system, has a mass broadcast feature called Message Assist. You can easily send mass broadcast communications to residents via phone call, email or text. As this national health crisis evolves, we are craving for information. Message Assist will allow you to keep your residents comfortably in their homes while you let them know any community updates in real time. Perhaps just daily notes to let them know that you are pulling together as a community. That creates a feeling of a neighborhood. There are also video and 3D self-guided tours to increase engagement with prospects while reducing human to human contact. Look for easy to use systems with simple set up and on-boarding processes.
NAA also has some great suggestions to keep your residents engaged. “Utilize the power of technology” to see how everyone is doing. Perhaps on-line contests using social media. There are many fitness apps and fun educational sites for children. Maybe ask a few of your residents to check on their elderly neighbors via daily phone call. How can we take care of our mental health as we are social beings and not used to isolation? For the elderly isolation is considered as harmful as 15 cigarettes a day. If you have a pet, they are thrilled to see more of you at home. If you have the space and your community allows pets, why not foster? The animal welfare groups in every town have lost volunteers and are in desperate need of fosters. Note to please remember to check the rules and regs for pet ownership with your community first.
As a nation we are now preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. Technology such as Message Assist will help you seamlessly communicate with your residents in real time. Treating people is the way that you want to be treated is always a good thing.