Recently, Corso Atlanta hosted the International Women’s Forum and their discussion about the Future of Senior Living. Corso Atlanta offered a perfect space for this panel, as it ushers in a new era of senior living led by Galerie Living COO, Kari Samuelson.
Raised in Marietta, Ga, Kari has always called Atlanta home. She attended Georgia Tech where she studied industrial engineering with a certificate in biomedical engineering, thus blending business savvy with a scientific and medical background. Her emphasis on the human element of business led her to Delta Airlines where she worked as a Human Factors and Usability Engineer. Her focus was set on user experience and consumer psychology. Eventually, this led her to Vendormate, one of Georgia Tech’s business incubator startups. When Vendormate was purchased by Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX), Kari spearheaded operations in Atlanta.
Her time with Vendormate and GHX grew her interest in healthcare, but she found that the “business to business model” didn’t feel as rewarding for her.
“I still loved healthcare, but it was really a business to business model instead of a business to consumer model,” Kari said. “I was withdrawn from the end user, and I wanted to be involved in a business that directly impacted people.”
That principle got her in talks with Galerie Living’s founder and CEO Tim Gary. She soon retained the position of Galerie Living’s Chief Operating Officer. Kari has the opportunity to sit down with seniors in their homes, listen to their stories and “impact senior’s in a very holistic way” at Galerie Living.
Kari’s goal is to push the senior living industry in a direction that focuses on excellence, innovation and dignity, both for residents and caregivers. Much of Galerie’s success in doing so has come through their signature adaptive care model. The adaptive care model allows seniors to age in place without the worry of moving should their physical capabilities decline. This assists in eliminating additional stress or worries. Kari emphasizes the importance of adapting to not only the needs of seniors, but the wants of seniors.
“We want to listen and be able to adapt to what seniors in that generation, that year or even in that specific community need and have an adaptable model that meets those needs.”
Galerie Living residents aren’t merely adopting a plan, they’re members of a community that listens to and changes with them. Kari wants to ensure that this mentality is extended to team members as well.
“We need dignity for the employees in the senior living industry,” Kari explains. “I don’t know that that’s a focus that has always been there.”
By giving its team members free meals, a platform to be heard, and comfortable work environments, Galerie Living aims to instill a sense of dignity and excellence in everything it touches.
That dignity is also influenced and reinforced by technology. Galerie’s investment in developing a comprehensive senior living platform, Fynn, addresses both the needs of the employees and the residents and families.
The aforementioned International Women’s Forum discussed the importance of inclusive design. Specifically, the forum cited that good design could be empowering and dignifying while poor design could be alienating and discouraging. Kari wants good design to be reflected in interfaces and technology, but also in the broader processes that these communities adopt. By offering seniors well organized support systems and structures, their care feels more natural and they can feel more at home. The quality of these systems are dependent almost entirely on how well informed the systems are and how accessible they are.
Galerie Living’s sister company, Fynn, aims to solve this by offering a “one-stop-shop” for senior living communities. Fynn allows caregivers, residents and family members a portal to upload and receive information of a resident’s needs and wellbeing. At its core, Fynn is “a way to assimilate data into meaningful pictures of what’s happening in a building.”
Processes like load balancing will make caregivers’ jobs easier while making residents’ care more reliable, giving them a home and community they can depend upon and embrace. Information fuels preemptive strategy, strategy that helps residents and caregivers feel more empowered. This empowerment provides unexpected happiness by maintaining as much independence as possible for residents through well balanced dynamics and additional transparency for their families.
Kari’s mission within Galerie Living reflects the company’s main tenets; she wants to build a culture around senior living that inspires dignity and offers unexpected happiness to seniors through its use of information technology and personal relationships. Her experience in human factor design and emphasis on end-user-experience has made her a driving force in changing the way senior living is approached. For more information on Fynn, stay tuned for our upcoming blog. For other Galerie news, follow us on social media!