People sitting in groups

People socializing

Building an Inclusive, Supportive and Safe Culture in Independent Living and Assisted Living (IL/AL) Environments.

Project THRIVE utilized evidence-based lessons learned from years of successful culture-building strategies in school systems to address the growing need for an inclusive culture in IL/ALs.

How Similar are High Schools and IL/ALs?

Communal living offers older adults opportunities for social relationships, personal growth and satisfaction

Challenges include:
  • Diversity (culture, ethnicity, age, health, personality, health beliefs)
  • Age-related changes and experience
  • Ageism

Project THRIVE Goal

Develop a culture-building model that meets aging related needs of older adults in IL/AF communities using:

  • Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS)
  • Culture Change and Maintenance
  • Language frames
  • Develop Social Norms


  • Two intervention sites located in Tucson, Arizona.  Two control sites located in other U.S. states.
  • Focus groups
  • Pre- and post-intervention surveys
    • 208 pre-surveys completed
    • 121 post-surveys competed
  • Interventions included:
    • Staff and Resident training on culture building models
    • Hearing assistive devices, Pocket Talkers™, to improve communication and build community
    • Community dining tables designated for certain groups, like “singles”
  • Intervention period – up to 4 months.

Research was conducted May, 2016 – July, 2017.           


Surveys revealed isolation and non-connectedness

Facility leadership inspired by this model of community building

More research is needed.