Senior Living Management


How long?

  • online
  • on demand

What are the topics?



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Who should attend

  • Nursing home and long-term care administrators
  • Registered nurses, nurse practitioners, nursing assistants, and dietitians
  • Physical therapists
  • Facilities managers, developers, and planners
  • Hospitality professionals transitioning to a career in senior living
  • People interested in a career in senior living

About the course

The number of adults 65 and over is growing fast; it’s an exciting time for those interested in careers serving seniors.

How can you be sure you’re meeting the needs of seniors and providing a superior experience?

In this certificate program, you’ll explore best practices for service excellence at senior living facilities. Through examination of case studies and industry regulations, you will gain an in-depth understanding of the current senior living landscape. You'll have the opportunity to utilize the principles of environmental psychology to plan senior living facilities that support health and wellness through informed design. You’ll implement the PPO (product, people, and operational conditions) framework to assess the needs of an organization and apply industry trends to create food service operations that align with the needs of a senior living facility. Throughout the courses, you’ll explore how process thinking can improve your senior living facility by creating a process flow document and formalizing an action plan for decision-making. Finally, you will practice assessing the quality of a senior living organization, identifying areas for improvement through research and applying quality management approaches.


Senior Living Fundamentals

We are approaching a radical shift in the makeup of our population: Soon 20% of the U.S. population will be over 65. That means our population will have around 90 million older adults! This is an exciting time for those interested in careers serving seniors; not just in wellness and healthcare, but with technology solutions, self- and assisted care, and designing and building living facilities. In this course, you will develop the fundamental competencies to successfully work in the emerging and complex senior living industry.

In this course, you will assess the senior living landscape and identify senior living workplace challenges as well as the solutions to those challenges. You will also explore best practices for facilitating service excellence. Finally, you will prepare for future trends and emerging complexities in senior living. In your course project, you will select a senior living option you work at or one that you believe is best aligned with your personal career interests.

Design Consideration for Senior Facilities

Effectively applying environmental psychology principles and theories to the design of senior living settings can powerfully enhance the quality of life for residents. Whether you're working as a designer of a new senior residential care facility, an administrator of an existing facility, or within the senior healthcare field, you can use the research to inform decisions about design choices for the space. This relatively new science addresses not only how human beings perceive their surroundings, but the ways in which good design can optimize people's interactions with the physical world.

In this course, you will examine how psychological factors affect our relationship to the environment in senior living facilities and reflect on how well those factors are being applied in a real-life setting. You'll explore how to apply environmental psychology principles to the design of senior living facilities. You'll conduct an online literature review to help inform your design of senior living facilities. To help you better understand the challenges seniors face so that you can design to address those challenges, you'll participate in a hands-on exercise where you simulate the physical limitations that occur naturally in the aging process and then reflect on your experience.

Dining Innovation in Senior Living

Can you offer a menu that excites your residents and/or guests, meets their nutritional needs, and doesn't break your budget?

In this course, you'll examine a framework to help you align your food service operation with your organizational needs. You'll also examine trends and how they might have a place in your food service operation, and you'll access resources to help you keep on top of those trends. You'll review a healthcare facility menu and reflect on what's good and where there's room for improvement. You'll design, or re-design, your own menu and then build a plan to collect and analyze feedback on that menu. You'll also interact with a tool to help you make sure your concept is viable.

Effective Process Management in Senior Living

What is process thinking? How can it help you improve your senior living facility?

In this course, you'll explore the concept of process thinking and access several reusable tools to help you evaluate, develop, and improve processes for an organization. You'll examine how to spot what's wrong in a process and explore solutions to fix those problems. You will also monitor how long a process takes at your own organization and reflect on the results of your observations. You'll examine a process flow at your organization and explore ideas for how to improve the process. You'll participate in a hands-on activity to examine how to improve the wait time of a process at your organization. Finally, you'll write a plan for how process flow can help improve decision-making at your organization.

Quality and Process Improvement for Senior Living

How can you ensure your organization is providing a service that meets the expectations of both patients and guests? Are there ways your organization could improve customer satisfaction while reducing costs? In this course, you'll explore how to measure quality using standard assessment metrics and diagnose areas of concern within your organization. You'll also be introduced to frameworks for improving processes while maintaining quality at your organization.

Throughout the course, you will identify a process in need of improvement at your organization and reflect on how it could be improved. You'll access several tools to help you understand the source of a problem with a process and use those tools to assess an issue in your organization. As your course concludes, you will explore strategies for addressing quality issues and access a reusable tool to help remind you of best practices for improving a process.

Key course takeaways

  • Explore best practices for facilitating service excellence at senior living facilities
  • Use design research to create environments that support health and wellness in senior living facilities
  • Explore strategies for aligning your senior living facility’s food service operations with your organization’s needs
  • Examine how process thinking can improve your senior living facility
  • Explore strategies for measuring and improving quality at your senior living facility


Judi Brownell

Judi Brownell is a professor at the School of Hotel Administration. She teaches courses in organizational behavior and management communication. Brownell has international teaching experience and her on-line eCornell executive courses are taken worldwide. Brownell''s research projects include stu...

Alex Susskind

Alex M. Susskind is an associate professor at the School of Hotel Administration and a member of the graduate field of communication at Cornell University. He earned his PhD in communication (with cognates in organizational communication and organizational behavior) from Michigan State University...

Rohit Verma

Rohit Verma is the dean of external relations for the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Singapore Tourism Board Distinguished Professor in Asian Hospitality Management at the School of Hotel Administration (SHA), and Professor in Operations, Technology and Information Management area. Verm...

Mardelle Shepley

Dr. Mardelle McCuskey Shepley, B.A., M.Arch., M.A., D.Arch., is a professor at Cornell University and chair of the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis. She is Associate Director in the Cornell Institute for Health Futures. Previously she served a professor at Texas A&M University ...

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Senior Living Management at eCornell

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