We have a lovely resident in one of our homes who crochets heirloom lap blankets. She made one for me this Christmas that I’ll always treasure. I will call her Amanda for purposes of this story.

I wrote Amanda a thank-you note, and one of our staff members told me it really touched her to receive it by mail. That motivated me to thank Amanda in person, and we had a nice conversation as she sat in her recliner working on her next creation, even while taking oxygen.

That week, I had a speaking engagement in front of 60 business people, and I brought along my lap blanket to show the crowd, telling them that one of the reasons we got into this business was because we love the elderly. I explained that the residents in this home have been remarkably excited to see the company owner eating with them, serving them coffee, or just talking to them because they are used to out-of-state owners not coming to the home at all.

When staff related this to Amanda, she cried, again touched that I valued her and her blanket so much that I showed it off and told people about her love for me. She said “he really cares about us doesn’t he!”

The staff told me that she had not been out of her room for days. She was not eating due to loneliness and depression, and really misses her family members.

After hearing the story about me showing her handiwork to the business crowd, Amanda has come out to every meal and to play games with the other residents.

Staff also told me that become someone started a false rumor that the facility might close, the residents have feared that they may lose their home. This really broke my heart because we are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in this building with no intention whatsoever of closing it.

As President and owner, most of my days are filled with oversight of cash flow, marketing strategy, business development, meetings with employees and vendors, and completing regulatory paperwork. It troubles me greatly to have so few opportunities to bring life to all the residents, who just like Amanda, just need someone to care about them, love them and take an interest in them.

I have a new goal for 2018. When I’m in the homes, I want to slow down and make sure I don’t miss anyone who may just need a little love in order to persevere. Don’t we all need that?

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