Once upon a time ago, Friendship Village had no Kiva, no Woodside (assisted living), no Assistance in Living (AIL), no garages, no rehabilitation services, no Fitness Center and no Café. We were not running a full activities schedule, hosting a Gilmore concert or planning international trips. And there was no Happy Hour.
But we grew and adapted. And all of it was intentional. At various times in our 40-plus years, the Board of Directors and the senior leadership convened specifically to look to the future and strategically anticipate how best to make and re-make Friendship Village not only for our current residents, but for our future ones as well.
Once again, we’re peering into the future. What will the next five to ten years bring us?
Here is a look at some of what we’ll be working toward as we move from goal-setting to goal-making:
> Continued Financial Health
Friendship Village enjoys strong financial health. Through the continuing efforts of our Board and Leadership, we’ve made substantial improvements to our campus and programs that have kept our community viable. All the while, we’ve exercised prudent financial oversight.
This continues to be our strategic focus. Any improvements or expansions toward which we embark—and there are plenty that we’re considering—must be done in such a way as to maintain our financial health.
> Enhance Amenities and Services
We’re considering renovating the Café into a Bar & Bistro featuring meal service into the evening, a Pickleball Court, outdoor fitness stations, Barista Coffee Bar, a Clubhouse, balconies, and more. We want to examine any and all innovative programs offered at other communities across the nation. How can we best increase choices, whether in our programs, services or even on our menus?
> Advance Technology
In order to stay competitive and to offer the connected immediacy that can only come through technology, we’ll be looking for ways to use smart phones, tablets and the like to help improve our efficiencies, to provide better services and to improve safety and security.
The next wave of residents (and some are already moving in) will expect Friendship Village to seamlessly link to their many devices, whether that’s to place a work order, sign up for an event, schedule transportation or to change a TV channel. And, as we’re experiencing, residents will also expect that we’re able to assist them with any issues or challenges that arise with their technologies.
> Enhance our Buildings and Grounds
With the exception of the Garden Homes, most of our campus is aged. Even Woodside, built in 1998, is showing signs of wear. Our external and internal signage needs replacing. And our landscaping, though still beautiful in many respects, needs updating.
Our recent renovation addressed many of these needs as we updated carpets, paint and furniture, and added the Rehab Center and Fitness Center. But we have much more to do if we’re going to maintain Friendship Village as the premier senior living community in Kalamazoo. The question is how do we prioritize these efforts?
> Improve Market Awareness & Perception
Believe it or not, many people do not know about Friendship Village, or they think we’re simply a nursing home. They’re unaware that we offer a continuum of care from independent living to assisted living, rehab and skilled nursing, and that we provide a very high value. As the Baby Boomers retire, we need to ensure that they have a high awareness of our community and what we offer.
In the “old” days, we could safely rely on newspaper, direct mail or radio and television. Not so much anymore. Communicating with prospective residents is getting more and more difficult in this age of a zillion TV channels, diminished newspapers, internet radio (Pandora) and social media.
> Expand Community Partnerships
We’ve achieved much success through our community partnerships with Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Public Library, Michigan Parkinson’s Association, the hospitals, Michigan WORKS!, among others. These collaborations help us meet our mission, and they often enable us to provide important programming and services in a highly cost effective way. Our goal is to expand these efforts in even more ways.
> Recruit, Train and Retain Staff
Friendship Village’s core strength is our staff. Like so many businesses right now, we often have more positions available than we have applicants. It’s a very volatile job market. Our goal is to find those folks who share a deep commitment to our values and to our mission to serve older adults. Once we find them, we want to offer highly competitive compensation and benefits, and we want to help them be successful with thorough training.
We are also excited to be adding an Aquatic Center to Friendship Village. Read more about the plans for this exciting addition.
Planning for the future is a core strength of our Leadership team and Board of Directors. We will share updates along the way!