Guest Services’ Expansion into Senior Living Brings Spectacular Levels of Service and Care
With the increasing trends in the aging population, Guest Services Senior Living provides the ultimate senior living experience and President of Guest Services’ Senior Living, John Gonzales, is ready to take on this challenge.
“I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease 34 years ago. That difficult time led me to explore a career that would work to improve the lives and living conditions of the senior population. It ignited a passion in me to serve this vulnerable population and to improve the options for care and living conditions that didn’t exist for my grandmother. Thirty-three years ago, I started my journey in the senior living industry while I was still in college; eventually working in every conceivable position inside of a senior community before moving into regional and corporate level positions. I operated my own consulting company for four years before finding my home at Guest Services. It’s the pinnacle of my career.”
Guest Services entered the senior living industry in the 1970s, providing a variety of concierge and dining services. Recently, we’ve expanded our involvement in this industry and now offer a full spectrum of management services including clinical care for independent, assisted living, and memory care communities.
“About two years ago, our Senior Living Division expanded its scope of services to add assisted living and memory care services. Today’s changing demographics – what we often refer to as the ‘silver tsunami’- reveals a significant need for quality operators. Guest Services is uniquely positioned to meet the newly emerging demand of today’s seniors by coupling our legendary hospitality services with clinical experience and expertise.”
Guest Services intends to be a disruptive innovator in this arena, embracing today’s highly accessible technology without losing sight of the very real, personal relationships that are paramount in operating a successful senior living community. According to John, “a delicate and thoughtful balance of high tech and high touch is our niche in this industry. The outstanding customer service and an emphasis on genuine ‘relationships’ between our staff and residents set us apart from all other providers. Our approach is intended to revolutionize the senior living industry.”
A unique challenge in this industry is that it is not nationally regulated, rather by the individual states. Therefore, each community must achieve and maintain compliance with 50 sets of state regulations. Fortunately, John has already operated in over 35 states and is extremely comfortable navigating through this challenge.
So, how is the Senior Living Division achieving success?
According to John, “The first step is the commitment we’ve made to be transparent with our financial partners. There is no substitute for honesty and integrity. We are also highly selective of the partners with which we chose to do business. We are responsible for the safety, security, and healthcare of our residents and the magnitude of that responsibility must be acknowledged and prioritized by everyone involved.”
John continues, “Because one of the hallmarks of Guest Services’ Senior Living is fostering authentic relationships between our staff, our residents, and families, only individuals that demonstrate genuine compassion, empathy, and who we identify as having a servant’s heart are hired. Once part of the team, we provide them with training, education, and coaching in emotional intelligence.”
We are all faced with emotions on a daily basis; however, individuals working with the elderly in healthcare settings deal with this exponentially more.
“Faced with a wide variety of family dynamics and emotions often including sadness, grief, confusion, anxiety, etc., instead of ignoring this reality, Guest Services’ Senior Living not only recognizes this, but we also confront it,” says John. “We seek ways to give our team members the tools they need to be successful in this space. Nine times out of 10, we hear that if benefits our staff professionally and personally.”
John believes there are three kinds of people in the world:
- Emotionally inept – when someone becomes very emotional, and you tend to react/respond with equally strong emotions;
- Emotionally ignorant – when someone isn’t paying attention or is dismissive to someone else’s emotions;
- Emotionally intelligent – when a person tries to empathize or at least understand what potential root cause is driving the emotion of someone – and then controlling your own emotions when responding
Easy to say difficult to do without knowledge and practice
John admits that even though he is truly passionate about improving the lives of today’s seniors, there is a bit of selfishness in what he does.
“I want to make sure that when I’m ready for senior housing that I have the options I want,” says John. “I’m always thinking about where I’d like to live one day and about the types of services, technology, and amenities I’ll want. So, I’m motivated to help to design, build, and operate communities that I would prefer to place a loved one and myself.”
John has already been involved in building and operating communities that offer:
- Outdoor amphitheaters
- Indoor high-tech theaters
- Virtual Reality Programming
- Robust wireless Internet
- Swimming Pools and Spas
- Pubs, Bistros, and al Fresco dining options
- Putting greens and Zen Gardens
- Full Pet care services
- Activities and amenities for adult children, teens, and younger grandchildren like Arcades, Ice Cream Parlors, Virtual Games, and even childcare
- Unique opportunities to remain active in the community at large through volunteering
- Once-in-a-lifetime outings, such as hot air ballooning and zip lining
“Being older doesn’t mean you stop living life to its fullest,” is one of John’s strongest beliefs.
Guest Services Senior Living is at the forefront of the movement to not simply “house” seniors, but to offer them a full, exciting, and fulfilling lifestyle and to improve the quality of their lives and relationships.
Thank you to John and our Senior Living Division team members for continuing to provide and improve upon the best hospitality, amenities, care, and services to all who need and want it. It should make us all feel proud of what our company is doing and even make us feel better about getting older!