How to Run Successful Resident Council Meetings

How to Run Successful Resident Council Meetings

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A Resident Council is an important part of any long term living community. Resident Council Meetings empower residents to voice their concerns, exercise their rights, and play a part in the decision-making process within their own home. Meetings may be monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, depending on the wishes of council members.
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A Resident Council is an important part of any long term living community.

Resident Council Meetings empower residents to voice their concerns, exercise their rights, and play a part in the decision-making process within their own home. Meetings may be monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, depending on the wishes of council members.

How to Organize a Resident Council Meeting

  • Decide on the date, time and agenda for the meeting.
  • Place the meeting agenda on a clipboard in the recreation area where leisure staff from all shifts can write down concerns or requests brought up by residents.
  • The meeting should be well attended. Use invitations, posters, or a 'Stop Press' notice in the monthly newsletter to encourage residents to participate.
  • The setting of the meeting is important; there should be no noise or passers-by. The room should be airy and well-illuminated.
  • If the Manager of the facility cannot attend meetings, choose a clinical staff member to represent management and clinical staff.
  • Elect a resident's relative to represent families and friends.
  • Time should be limited. If you need to, separate agenda items into categories e.g. Meals issues, Social Outings issues, General Complaints, New Leisure/Recreation requests, and others.
  • Choose a leader who is calm, understands the group dynamics and can mediate between all parties.
  • Offer refreshments at the end of the meeting to enable participants to talk and socialize.

Take Minutes of Each Meeting

Taking the minutes of a meeting is a very important role. The person chosen should not have other responsibilities; such as leading the meeting.
A minute taker should be able to:

  • Express information clearly
  • Be attentive to details
  • Be neutral
  • Be prepared; look at the agenda before the meeting and if needed, discuss with leader

If the minute-taker is new to the role, they may ask a colleague to take notes as well to compare with at the end of the meeting. This will ensure they do not miss any important agreements and actions resulting from the meeting.

A sample template for taking minutes is included in this article.

15 Ways to Run a Successful Resident Council Meeting Meeting

Good meetings leave you energized and with a feeling of accomplishment.

How long should resident meetings last? Usually, no more than one hour unless there are very difficult items to be discussed.

Here are a few tips for the leader to consider:

  1. Decide how many minutes to spend on each category and stick to it.
  2. Make sure that participants who added to the agenda are present (If possible).
  3. Sequence the agenda from difficult categories to easy ones.
  4. Prepare the names of the people who will put forward the discussion for each category.
  5. Insist that everybody turns off their mobile phones.
  6. Focus on the objectives of the meeting and involve participants as much as possible.
  7. Summarize each item before proceeding to the next category: who is agreeing and/or taking charge of what? When should action points be resolved?
  8. Praise participants who contribute with positive remarks: 'That's a good question' - 'Great idea'.
  9. Make sure participants are focused and happy; schedule a 10 minutes break if needed.
  10. If one person is dominating the meeting, the leader should ask other people for their opinions.
  11. Assign tasks generated by the meeting and review tasks at the end of meeting (write down the names of individuals who agreed to perform tasks).
  12. Trivial issues may be resolved at another time with a memo or among dissenting parties.
  13. At the end of the meeting, inform participants where and when they can read the minutes and the date and time of the next meeting.
  14. Make sure actions generated by the meeting are followed-up on and resolved.
  15. End on time!

Effective meetings give value to the ideas and wishes of residents. They promote the creativity of the group and strengthen friendships.

Aspire to develop a reputation as an excellent meeting leader!

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Comments   Post a Comment

Melissa 8th Jun 2023
Please share some samples of open ended questions for resident council meeting for assisted living
Susan 9th Jun 2023 Activity Director

Hi Melissa
Have you read this article?
Make sure to read the links and the comments in this article
Robin 28th Aug 2021 Activity Director
any tips on what to do when your resident council tries to take control of all aspects of the building?
Susan 28th Aug 2021 Activity Director
Hi Robin
Use the hints in this article and remind the residents that they have a certain responsibility and limits to what they are in charge of
If need be get the social worker and administrator involved
Susan 29th Mar 2021 Activity Director
Hi Anonymous
Thank you for all the valuable information you shared
Because each facility is so different and the ability of the residence is different and fluctuates
I think you can determine what the role of each officer is and which officers you want to have
You may have to re evaluate from time to time as the residents change
Anonymous 28th Mar 2021
We have a resident council that has attained a certain amount of success by defining up front what we can and cannot change.

It helps if you have good manager to work with. Sometimes we invite ours to meetings so she can clarify what she can or cannot do. That saves us from going on wild goose chases. We learned that some issues will ultimately end up with her anyhow.

We try not to talk about conflicts between residents in our meetings. We have a rule that anybody in the meeting can do a time out sign and stop us from gossip. We empower each other to hold us all accountable. A particular resident may be a pain to everybody else. But we don't take that on. We cannot ameliorate personal conflict between residents.

We do address issues that affect us all. It could be laundry room etiquette. A sign that says, "Please don't leave your clothes in the washer because other residents need to use it too." is not out of the question. A lot of our projects are building safety issues. Like ensuing parking spaces are repainted. We requested that overgrown brush be cleared out of an area in the back. And we checked our security cameras to make sure they are pointed toward the right places.

We are self monitoring. We question our projects. Is this idea progressive or a dead end? Does the purpose serve all residents? Can we perform the solution on our own, or do we need outside help? Can management secure a grant to help us with our vision?

For big projects we might assemble a team. If a person comes up with a really good idea, we might ask them to lead the team because they have the passion. Or they ask another person to lead if they are shy about it. Then the team will report back periodically to give a status report.

The use of teams is common in manufacturing. It is all about an end product. You can look at your resident council the same way. Your successful accomplishments are an end product. Even a sign in a laundry room is something that wasn't there before. Why not see it as an end product? Like a car on an assembly line. It takes effort to create a sign. It takes effort to create a car. Thinking it through and doing it is the exact same process. It doesn't matter that one product is far more expensive. Have pride in what you do. What you do is value added. A resident council has value.

A lot of a resident council is discussion. But taking action will eventually generate complex ideas. If an idea does require team development you can give your team a name. Team "Potluck Recipe Book" or whatever you desire.

Some projects can be very serious. For instance. Some resident councils may have a disagreement with management about lighting in the parking lots at night. Or changing traditions that are so outdated they don't serve a purpose anymore. So they negotiate with management at first so they can eventually have a common goal. And that takes a different kind of work than making a recipe book. But the people on the resident council make the difference. Harnessing the talent of those people makes all the difference in the world. Some people have a natural talent for negotiation. A resident council allows those talents to be expressed.

I am still looking for a resource that explains in detail how an effective resident council is run. What the distinct roles of the officers are, etc.
Talita 18th Jan 2020
Here is another minutes template provided by Susan.
simonne 4th May 2019 Support worker
Thanks for offering this information..great help
Talita 6th May 2019
Thank you so much for your feedback Simonne
vicki 3rd Feb 2015 recreational facilities officer
Perfect timing as I have to run a residents meeting tomorrow. Thank you very much for your very helpful site!
Solange 29th Jan 2015 Diversional Therapist
Thank you Josephine. We wish you luck with the meetings.
Josephine 29th Jan 2015 Lifestyle Manager
I have just gone through to find information on running a meeting as we have been informed that Lifestyle is now responsible for our Resident & Family/Friends meeting. I am currently putting together a Procedure Manual for all the little things that Coordinators so that others can follow certain aspects of the managerial side of things. The information here I can use, so even though it was posted almost 1 year ago, it is wonderful to be able to go through and pick up info that is very very useful. Thank you for this, it certainly will mean I am not spending too much time to put information together !!
Heather 9th Apr 2014
Thank you solange for this I found it very interesting and helpful.
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