Leaders From The Heart

service_retirementAs a Methodist minister in the 1950’s my grandfather, along with my grandmother Rauls, set out on a mission to help retirees find housing plus healthcare under one roof. During that time period right in little ole Macon, Georgia, their mission and prayers sparked a revolution to build the first modern day congregate living facility for seniors. It was not the most profitable new venture but they made it work. Witnessing the residents and families properly cared for were their rewards! My grandparents have both since passed on and I know in my heart they are proud of their two sons and grandchildren for carrying the torch forward in the fast paced evolution of today’s senior housing. How we understand our resident’s needs is the most important thing we can do.

I would like to share with you an idea about understanding needs and one of the most pivotal parts of my personal philosophy about caring for Seniors/Retirees – “TRY TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR PARTICULAR NEED BEFORE THEY ASK”. It’s a self-taught nurtured philosophy that relies on perception and the uniqueness of an individual or group. The thesis is based on profiling the most likely needs based on how I would want to be cared for. Here is a simple example of how the process works: I have been around boats my whole life and have enjoyed water skiing with friends.  Ok. It works like this: First I have to profile who’s going skiing by using obvious biological, sociological and psychological factors. Then in my mind I go through a process of elimination determining the 5 biggest possible factors to be aware of on the day of the trip. For example, if it’s going to be 105 degrees outside then that’s how I base my mental plan while assuming my friends will be 50 percent prepared. It’s my boat so I feel responsible to them: 1st make sure the Bimini top is on the Bayliner to provide shade. 2nd prepare a cooler with enough ice, Gatorade and water for everyone. 3rd bring a good selection of sun block to share. 4th have several light color hats/shirts available to cover up with and 5th a fan that circulates the air I made that runs off the motor (don’t ask. Lol). Ok, if I follow my plan to a certain degree of error it makes the individuals percentage of not over-heating higher, therefore having a more successful skiing trip. One variable in the equation is that my friends know I am responsible. Now that I have given you this example (hopefully you’re not too confused) let’s switch gears for a minute to senior living.

Likewise, there are certain retirement communities in each city that are known for being extra responsible and providing superior training. Therefore, it would seem a responsible and well trained staff is better prepared to provide excellent care and forecast residents’ needs. Now let me stress that this is not fool proof. Where it gets real interesting is when the same mental tools and thought processes used for my example of water skiing are applied to a retirement community. And yes I know water skiing and seniors are a strange comparison but don’t stone me yet. Maybe my next article will be about seniors who water ski?? Lol! Tune in next week for my conclusion and several mental tools you can use in decision making! Thank you everyone for the personal emails, office drop-ins and the hand written notes,J they truly warm my heart. Have a Blessed Week. John