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Is Your Company A Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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While at NIC I had a conversation with Aaron Koelsch and Dennis Christianson from Koelsch Senior Communities. Koelsch Senior Communities has over 20 communities that are located in seven states -- California, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, and Washington, with a heavy concentration in Washington, which is also the site of their home office, located in Olympia.

Old-School Senior Living

Every new app, every new business, every shiny new improvement is designed to be the next best thing. But whatever happened to good old-fashioned human interaction? That’s something that is near and dear to Aaron Koelsch and Koelsch Communities. 

The big reoccurring theme of our conversation was that he and his organizations place a high value on relationships and people. He believes that the #1 thing customers are looking for in senior housing is a place that feels like home and staff that know what it means to have a real relationship.

“If I'm leaving a loved one with you -- a mother, an aunt, uncle, father -- I want to know that we have a relationship. And I want them to feel loved, like the famous song from a television series, everybody wants to go where everybody knows your name,” Aaron clarified.

Creating a Culture

Aaron believes that creating a culture of personal relationships is paramount to a successful healthy environment, for both residents and staff.

“We try to do the same thing with the folks that work with us. Do we know people’s birthdays? Do we know when their daughter is graduating from high school?  

"Because I don't deliver the care to our residents anymore, I can’t say yes to those questions, but, I did certainly when I was young. We have to take care of those who are caring for our seniors and that's part of our culture,” Aaron explained.

The Personal Touch

Koelsch Senior Communities clearly offers a personal touch approach. When I say personal touch, I mean it . . . to the point that Aaron literally writes a personal note to every person he meets. I actually had a bit of trouble buying it at first, but Aaron is steadfast in his belief in the power of a personal note.

“I do that because I believe in it. I also do it because I'm trying to set an example for everybody who works with me, show that that's what I expect of them.”

This is a very cool, very personal thing in this world of instant text messages and no-effort emails. The mere idea of a handwritten note, sent via snail-mail, is archaic, but brilliant. 

Awards & Accolades

2006

Canterbury Inn,1st, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Delaware Plaza,3rd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Koelsch Senior Communities,Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce Large Business Award

2007

CanterburyInn, 1st,Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Koelsch Senior Communities,3rd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

2008

Canterbury Inn, 1st, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Koelsch Senior Communities, 3rd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best 

2009

Sterling Inn, Best of Victorville, Assisted Living and Memory Care

Canterbury Park, Canterbury Inn/Chateau, Gardens, 1st, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Koelsch Senior Communities, 2nd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best 

2010

Canterbury Gardens, 1st, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Koelsch Senior Communities, 2nd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

2011

Canterbury Gardens, 1st, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Koelsch Senior Communities, 2nd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

2012

Canterbury Inn, 1st, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Koelsch Senior Communities, 3rd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

2013

Sterling Inn, Best of the Desert Award by Daily Press

2014

Sterling Inn,Best of the Desert Award by Daily Press

Sterling Commons, Best of the Desert Award

Sterling Commons, Senior Advisor Award

Canterbury Inn, 1st, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Koelsch Senior Communities, 3rd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

2015

Sterling Inn, Certificate of Recognition of 25 Years, California State Senate

Sterling Inn,California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition of 25 Years of Business 

Sterling Inn,Best of the Desert Award by Daily Press

Sterling Commons, Best of the Desert Award

Sterling Commons, Senior Advisor Award

Sterling Inn, Certificate of Appreciation, Veterans of Foreign Wars

2015 Cont.

Sterling Inn, Certificate of Appreciation, Veterans of Foreign Wars

Spring Creek InnA Place for Mom, Highest Move-In Conversion Rate of APFM Referred Families

Koelsch Senior Communities, Kelso Chamber of Commerce Pillars of Strength Award

Canterbury Inn1st, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Delaware Plaza2nd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best 

2016

Sterling Inn, Best of the Desert Award by Daily Press

Sterling Inn, Service Excellence Award

Sterling Commons,Caring Stars Award from Caring.com 

Sterling Commons, Best of the Desert Award

Sterling Commons, Senior Advisor Award

Copper Creek Inn,Best Senior Living in Chandler

Copper Creek Inn, Chandler 100 Award, Chandler Chamber of Commerce 

Canterbury Inn1st, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Koelsch Senior Communities2nd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Cedarbrook Memory Care, 2016 Alzheimer’s Foundation Above and Beyond Award

Delaware Plaza3rd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Riverside Inn, Best Senior Living in Fort Worth, Texas

 2017

Sterling Inn, Best of 2017 Award, Senior Advisor Award 

Sterling Inn, Best of the Desert Award by Daily Press

Silver Creek, Best of Senior Living in Mesa

Sterling Commons, Best of the Desert Award

Sterling Commons, Best of 2017, Senior Advisor Award

Copper Creek Inn,Best Senior Living in Chandler  

Cedarbrook Inn, Zero Deficiency Survey

Canterbury Park1st, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

Koelsch Communities2nd, Daily News Readers Choice Awards/ Lower Columbia’s Best

2018

Sterling Inn, Business of the Month, Hesperia Chamber of Commerce

Silver Creek, Best of Senior Living in Mesa

Sterling Commons, Best of the Desert Award

Sterling Commons,Senior Advisor Awards

Lakeview, Bloomingdale Chamber of Commerce Beautification & Community Improvement Award

Cedarbrook Inn, Zero Deficiency Survey
Riverside Inn, Best Senior Living in Fort Worth, Texas

Riverside Inn, Society Life, Tops in Tarrant 

Northbrook Inn, Best of 2018, Senior Advisor Awards

Meadowbrook Inn, Best of 2018, Senior Advisor Awards

Riverside Inn, Best of 2018, Senior Advisor Awards

Silver Creek Inn, Best of 2018, Senior Advisor Awards

Sterling Inn, Best of 2018, Senior Advisor Awards

Canterbury Inn, Best of 2018, Senior Advisor Awards