January 28, 2021
I think this year has taught us that life is more about the perspective we take than the actual events unfolding around us.
I have had a complete change of perspective myself. I have learned that things I once felt were most important are much less so. From the past year, many of us can see that only our families and loved ones—including residents—really are number one in our lives.
Change is vital to keeping up with times of crisis. How can we expect our staff and our residents to rise to the occasion if we don’t do so ourselves? How can we encourage our residents to open themselves up to us and allow us to be that stand-in family when our daily lives have changed so much?
The answer is love. Residents sense our sincerity, so share your love. We can go about each day with an attitude of expectancy: Give out love and expect to receive it in return.
We all have so many stories of love from this past year. Memories of these moments can provide what we need to keep going.
One resident who was precious to me had reached the end stages of her life and had entered hospice. But because of COVID-19, her family was not allowed to visit until the very near the end. To help, the staff showed their love each day to this resident, taking time to talk or just to be a comforting presence to her.
When her son was allowed to visit, he saw multiple staff stop in and say their goodbyes and share their love with her one last time. He said: “I didn’t know how much your staff loved her. I take such peace in knowing she had love around her during the time I was unable to see her.”
We could see the love in happy times, as well. When staff arrange a surprise virtual or window birthday party, watching the face of the resident when she walks in the room decorated just for her and sees the cake and family smiling, it doesn’t matter that it’s on a screen or behind glass. You can still feel the outpouring of love all around in that moment.
The reason why
There is no reason to stop doing the things we love. We just need to change how we do them.
That is why so many of us stay in this work, even during difficult times. People hunger for that feeling that they matter to someone. Every day, we can let everyone we encounter feel that sense of blessing and care that we can offer. What do you have inside to express your best each day?
I have told my staff we are all fighting an invisible battle right now. Most think of this battle as COVID-19. But at the same time, aren’t we also fighting the invisible battle to keep leading with love, even when we feel we have done all we can? Will we run out of love?
But love doesn’t work like that. It has a way of working out. In the words of the great philosophers, The Beatles, “The love you take is equal to the love you make.”