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The senior living industry has a voice. You can hear it on Bridge the Gap podcast!

#ActivitiesStrong 6

This motivational message, delivered by Jerald Cosey, Operational Leadership Development Director at American Senior Communities, is designed to recognize and honor healthcare professionals for their contribution during the pandemic. Moreover, it influences a cultural movement to reduce isolation to improve person-centered care.

Today’s operational and clinical leaders navigate “white flag” moments daily. Responsibilities include quality outcomes, operational excellence, and staff development within a highly regulated industry, which may influence burnout as a healthcare professional. Isolation within the elder community is rising and with detrimental consequences. This trend is a reality for many residing within a healthcare community and frequently starts with physical separation before admission.

Listen in to:

  • Bring awareness to isolation’s rise in senior healthcare communities and its impact on physical and mental health outcomes.
  • Uncover strategies designed to improve engagement through intentional relationships between residents and staff.
  • Understand the power of life stories and their potential to reduce isolation and improve outcomes.
  • Learn how to revisit their individualized calling to health care and leave the conference with a visual keepsake as a reminder of that calling.

Charles:

Welcome, everyone. Welcome on this first day of June, it definitely feels like summer here in Washington, DC. It also feels like summer in Pennsylvania where I was yesterday. My name is Charles Del Vilmorin. I am the CEO and co-founder of Linked Senior. We are with NAP and NCAP and Activities Connection, the leading forces behind the Activities Strong initiative that was created to acknowledge, empower, and educate activity and life enrichment professionals. I’m excited today because this is one of our Executive Editions where we formulate a language, where again, we invite everybody from the senior living industry, but in particular executives. And our presentation today is going to be about the companionship culture, resident-caregiver engagement through life stories. And I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Jerald Cosey, who is the operational leadership development director with American Senior Communities. This presentation today is on in partnership with the Bridge The Gap podcast.

Charles:

And let me introduce you a little bit about the webinar today, who we are, and the topic of our discussion. So essentially we started this platform called Activities Strong because we believe obviously that on one hand, old people are cool. This is the name of a platform we started six years ago, simply because one, we believe it. And two, we’re not big fans of this discrimination based on age. And last year, more than a year ago now, we started this platform called Activities Strong because we know how difficult some of your work has been. We also are extremely thankful to be able to work with professionals like you, and obviously strongly believe that more being more than essential, you help bring purpose to our elders, to your residents, in your communities. And with that being said, Linked Senior, just to give you a little bit of background, we provide a resident engagement platform for senior living.

Charles:

So we serve thousands of professionals like you through lifetime community, senior living organization and long-term care. And essentially our work is about helping you do more. Whether it’s engaging your residents regardless of their preferences and who they are and what they enjoy also providing you management tools to elevate the resident engagement in the experience that you provide. We are an evidence-based platform. We’re very proud of our work. We’re very proud of the fact that it’s evidence-based and three years ago, we also understood the value of helping you as professionals by giving you quality education. So, three years ago, we started this webinar series that was monthly and in the wake of the pandemic through the Activities Strong initiative, we doubled down and started providing these on a bi-weekly basis. I’d like to share with you just before we get started with this with today’s presentation, one quick word, one nugget. Which is that you, as I mentioned to you previously, we strongly believe that you are the quote-unquote partner of our elders, the partner of our residents. 

Charles:

And what you enable to do, and what you lead in your organization is what’s called resident engagement. And I think the best way to start up today’s presentation is just a quick reminder that resident engagement is our organization, our industry’s ability to collaborate with these elders. So they can find purpose every single day. That is why your work is beyond important. It is essential. This is the bedrock of our industry. And it also shows that you are the CEO, right? The chief engagement officer, because you ought to lead this effort. And I couldn’t be excited more, more excited to actually introduce you today to today’s present presenter. Jerald Cosey, as I mentioned is the operational leadership development director for an organization called American Senior Communities, which is the largest provider in the state of Indiana. Jerald has actually sales experience, but joined a community, a nursing home a little bit more than eight years ago and led this organization, this nursing home for eight years, and actually was there in the wake of the pandemic.

Charles:

He led his team and did the work that you all do also, which is to show up at work so that the elders are safe and also find purpose every day. He was recently promoted to be the leadership development director for all of the American Senior Communities, which is again the leading senior living and healthcare senior healthcare provider in Indiana. He is dedicated to developing leaders for over 90 communities. So with that, I want to thank everyone for joining today. And Jerald, I’ll leave it up to you to lead us. Thank you

Jerald:

Hello Linked Senior. I am so happy to be with you all today, this afternoon. 2020 was a year that we’ll never forget across the globe. We had a worldwide pandemic with the direct impact on the people in which we serve daily. We had a social injustice movement sparked by tragedies. We’ve had wildfires, hurricanes, natural disasters, tough time after tough time, but there’s something I know about you and me. See, we are senior healthcare professionals. Tough times, they don’t destroy us. They can’t separate us. They bring us together. They galvanize us as one senior healthcare community. So on behalf of Linked Senior, on behalf of the sponsors of this event, Bridge The Gap, on behalf of the communities in which you work, on behalf of the owners of your communities, the residents, their families, everyone that you impact within that senior healthcare community, I want to say, thank you.

Jerald:

It’s my privilege. And honor to be with you today. I have some stories I want to share. My commitment is that I’ll give you everything I have. I’ll be fully transparent and take advantage of an opportunity that I have to honor you, the senior healthcare professionals of our world. Before this pandemic, people would gather corporately and they would worship whatever their faith, whether it’s church, mosque, synagogue, temple, people will come together. Within six feet of a total stranger and without a mask. Well, it was during this time that my pastor walked up to the podium to give a sermon on the broken place of isolation. As he does often, he asked us to stand up and shake our hands, shake the hands of our neighbors and welcome them to church that day. We always follow suit. As my family  and I began to return back to our seats, the pastor continued. A couple weeks back, I ask you to not only say hello to a neighbor, but I asked you to physically engage a neighbor.

Jerald:

I asked you to shake a hand, to give a hug. As he continued on with his sermon he says, but after that particular sermon, as I stayed out in a lobby to say hello, there was a lady who caught my eye. See she was standing in line to speak with me. And she had this excitement on our face. As she draws closer, I started asking myself like, what’s this excitement about? Well, the time finally arrived as she got right in front of me. And she said, pastor, thank you so much for encouraging us to engage our neighbor. Would you believe it’s been six months since I’ve had any type of human connection? Now keep in mind, I’m talking about church. So I want you to keep your minds clean out there, but you know where I’m going with this. As healthcare professionals, we have the opportunity to observe many things in this world.

Jerald:

And oftentimes we first begin observing with our worldly mind. And then with time, we begin to see that with our senior healthcare professional mind. As I’m sitting in the audience, I’m thinking, so if isolation like this lady just shared. If that exists within this world, what’s going on within the world that we work each and every day, what’s going on within our senior communities world. So I ran home. I jumped on Google and I came up with four facts regarding senior isolation. It was written by Sarah Stevenson in a publication called The Weak. Feelings of loneliness, negatively impact both physical and mental health. Feelings of loneliness can negatively impact physical and mental health. Point number two. Loneliness is a major risk factor for depression. Have you ever noticed when we’re doing a PHQ, not Q nine, we’ll ask ourselves, am I depressed?

Jerald:

This next one got me. Perceived loneliness, perceived loneliness contributes to both cognitive decline and the risk of dementia. I always tell my children, if someone perceives you to be lazy than their reality for you is what they believe. So if our residents perceive they’re lonely, that’s going to contribute to a cognitive decline and a risk of dementia. This last one, senior isolation increases the risk of mortality. So I think we all would agree, isolation is real within the senior community. But you know as well as I do, not only our seniors reside in our community. What about you? What about me? Another article published by the week talked about, the broken place of, isolation and specifically to millennials and to folks within the US. 50% of Americans reported they had no one to talk to. 50%. Half of Americans said that they have a meaningful conversation on a daily basis.

Jerald:

Now in the senior health care career field, we know there are many days when we return home from work and the last thing we want to do is have a meaningful conversation. So I can speak for myself and say, this statistic has applied to me in certain situations. One in four millennials will tell you they have no friends. And one in five, say that they seldom feel close to anyone. With that, we know there’s two populations of people within our communities that are dealing with isolation, one, our residents, and one ourselves, and see your health care professionals. You know, oftentimes when people find out that I’m a nursing home, if you will, a skilled nursing community administrator, they’ll say, oh, I feel sorry for those elders, people have just dropped them off in a community. And there’s a time when I just feel like I want to say no, you’re wrong. But I listen.

Jerald:

And I looked for an opportunity to correct them. See what we know is that one of the most loving conversations a family could have, would be in regards to caring for their revered elder, as they’re going through life. See, it’s not easy to talk about caring for others. Our residents are loved. They’re in our community and they’re separated from things that they once knew. My grandmother raised me and she would love to do her bills. And I say, maw, I want to come get you to come down for the weekend. And she said, well, I’m working on bills today. See our residents in our communities are separated from society as they once knew it. They’re separated from their routines, they could be separated from emotional intimacy, physical intimacy. They’re residing within our communities. Now, who’s around our residents? You, me, our direct care staff, our engagement professionals, activities professionals, culinary, all the various departments are surrounded within this sphere of influence with our residents. Let me tell you a story. A couple of years ago, we had a new admit and at morning meeting, we discussed that new admit. She had just come to us from the state of Florida. She admitted the night before. And on this particular day, she was celebrating her 92nd birthday. As the executive director of the community, I shared with my team. I broke off a gemba, I went in to say, hello. I knocked on the door. Ms. Betty, may I come in? She welcomed me in. Happy birthday.

Jerald: 

She didn’t really seem excited. Miss Betty, today is your birthday. Right? She said, yes. I said, well, what’s wrong? Is everything okay? She says, well, I have, oh my stomach a device that holds my waist. And that device is connected to my skin with a seal. She said last night, the sea broke. It leaked. And you haven’t felt discomfort until you had felt stool sitting on your skin. I immediately addressed the pain with Ms. Betty and said, Hey, Ms. Betty, I have a pain, a wound nurse right down the hall. She’ll be here in literally a couple of minutes. Would you like for me to grab her right now? She said, no, I can wait. I said, well, would you mind if I had a seat with you? She welcomed me to do so at that point in time, I said, Ms. Betty, would you believe that I too wore a colostomy bag? 

Jerald:

And would you believe that for two of those seven months, while I wore the bag, that I too had difficulty maintaining my seal? So yes, I clearly understand the feeling that one has, the discomfort that one has when waste is touching your skin. Instantly, Ms. Betty and I, we had a connection. She went on to tell me about her life and Florida. She started in an independent community. She moved to assisted living as she got older. She recently, she recently made the decision to move back to Indiana, to go into care so that she could live next to her two daughters. She went on to say that her husband was a Methodist pastor. And he did great things in this world. Well, before you know it, our wound nurse had come by the room and that conversation ended. But what stuck with me, is for that brief amount of time, Ms. Betty had her story. I had my story. And where that story had interaction is where the engagement occurred.

Jerald:

See everybody has a story. An intimate life journey that when shared with others has the potential to impact and change a life. So based upon that, I believe that isolation can be reduced through this sharing of good old fashion conversation. We have a scale that many outside of the senior healthcare world may not know. That is we can get in a conversation and out of a conversation with skill in tact when it comes to communicating with our elders. We know we can do that. So today, write this down. I want you to stop. I want you to sit. I want you to listen and I want you to learn. See, there are days when we must get to where we want to go in our community. The last thing we need is another to-do item. And that is not what I’m trying to give you or suggest today. What I am saying is there are times when we are intentional with stopping and having a conversation, and on many of those days, we end up being the benefactor because we too are isolated. Our residents enjoy having a conversation with us. And guess what? Everybody has some type of similarity deep within their story. Somewhere. We seldom get a chance to see where our stories will take us because we haven’t taken the time to stop in and interact with others.

Jerald:

Today, I’m going to share with you a couple of stories that my hope would be that you and I have some engagement, some connection between each other. I grew up in the city of Chicago. I was born on the south side. I have excellent parents. I had a wonderful childhood, and I couldn’t have been more lucky. My parents, they were younger. They met in high school. They had me at a young age and they were married at a young age. On one particular night, my mom, my dad, myself, we were nestled in their first apartment. It was a winter night. And you could smell the radiator. You could smell the heat. My dad, he grabbed his coat. He put on his scarf in Chicago you have to bundle up. And he headed off to get a few items for our young family.

Jerald:

Within five minutes of him leaving our home, he was hit by an automobile and propelled to his death instantly. My mom, so excited as a newlywed. So excited about her future, was now a single parent. How would she get through such a time? Well, six months later, my mom died. Complications due to MS. For a time in my life, in an instant, I went from having young parents in their twenties to having my mom’s mother and father adopt me and raise me and having parents in their forties. My parents, they spent a lot of time in the house, but they enjoyed social events with their friends. On New Year’s Eve, every New Year’s Eve, as a matter of fact, they got together with their group, which left me at home with my great-grandmother. Now we called her big momma. We called her big momma because she was the mother of mothers, the mother of four daughters and a son.

Jerald:

Each of them married. It established her as the highest-ranking mother within the family. Well, I think I was about two years old and I see my grandmother walking from that closet in your home when your parents have company and they put coats in that one closet, they put coats in that hallway closet. I see my grandmother going and grabbing coats and putting them in my bedroom across the mattress. As she’s moving and taking coats from one room to another. I say, big mother, what are you doing? She says, we’re going to go in this closet because on New Year’s Eve, people have a tendency to shoot. And we are not dying tonight. So she continued. And as she always did, she kept her word. And she summoned me to the closet and I enter, and I see a chair with her, I see a Bible and I see a big lemonade pitcher.

Jerald:

Big mama closed the door and she began with this. It was a dark night in Homa Louisiana. The moon was white as it shined down on a modest home. Outside the home, there was a horse roaming. It belonged to the owners of that house. Inside the house there were a young couple asleep. A couple by the name of Charles and Mall Easton. Charles awakens. He can hear horses far away, but getting closer and closer He jumped out of the bed and he went to the mantel and grabbed his rifle. The galloping got louder and louder to the point where it awakened his bride Mall. Mall jumped up. Charles, what’s wrong?

Jerald: 

I hear horses. They’re coming. They’re not taking our horse tonight. The galloping stopped from the sounds of it right in front of the home. Charles, Charles Easton, come on out here, boy. Now Charles wasn’t too kind with people referring to him as boy. See, he was a pastor. He was a Masonic man. And he was respected in the community. But what Charles was committed to was making sure that every human being had a dignified and respectful burial. Charles opened the door. Charles Easton. You may want to go over to the other county. My eyes are wide open in his closet. Big mama. What happened? Who were the people on the horses? She says, Jerry, those were the nightriders. Well, why did they come to your house? Well, you know, Charles, he took very serious his commitment to making sure everybody had a respected burial. And there was something that occurred over in the town next door.

Jerald:

And he went over to make sure that the family was comforted. Big mama, who is Charles? Who? She says, that’s my husband. She says, that is my husband for over 45 years. I was in amazement. But to this day, as an adult, myself, what amazes me is there wasn’t any political statement behind her story. There wasn’t a different angle. That story brought value to her life. See, I’d never met my great-grandfather. So I met him through that story. And guess what? When my great-grandmother moved in with my mom and my mom became her caregiver, on a day of clarity, you could find her telling the exact same story. Later on in life, she ended up going to a skilled nursing community. And guess what? On the right day, at the right time, you can walk into that community and see my grandmother holding court on the south side of Chicago, telling the story about her husband.

Jerald:

Everybody has a story. An intimate life journey that when shared with others has the potential to impact and change a life. Come on, you know your grandma or granddaddy told you some stories that you never heard from anybody but them. And you know that they take a lot of pride in sharing those stories. I would not have a chance to have known that story if I were my grandmother’s caregiver at her skilled nursing community. Had I not had a chance to interact, to engage with Mall Easto. That’s Mall. And that’s Charles Easton. Annual survey occurred for our community the first week of March last year, 2020. Like all annual surveys, we want to do well. We want to compete. Let me tell you something. It’s not normal to have outsiders come into to your place of business and look within every nook and cranny, trying to find something that you have done wrong.

Jerald:

You have chosen an honorable profession. Yes, we need oversight. But when surveyors come in our communities, it’s our time to take pride and to show who we are and the quality of care that we provide for others. But guess what? The exact same week of annual survey, the state of Indiana had our first confirmed COVID positive case. Are you kidding me? During annual survey! Day two, day three, my DNS, Shirley and I were looking at each other and we’re thinking, Hm, this may be our year. Things seem to be going pretty well. By day six, we’re feeling real excited. Day seven, we clearly realized that no, we are not achieving a perfect survey. As a matter of fact, the 25 67, the ledger confirmed that we received two tags. One was a busted phone jack cover in our assist dining room, brace yourself.

Jerald:

And number two was a stat order X-ray, no negative outcome on the resident that wasn’t ordered or didn’t occur quick enough. We were devastated. We connected as a team afterwards and we shared the news. And my team, they took it a lot better than I had anticipated. See, there was a sense of pride within the room. Everyone, everyone stepped up during that time. We felt as if it was a job well done. Our maintenance director at the time has a tendency to be real macho. And doesn’t like to show his softer side, but he said with a welling in his voice control. Your right we only got two tags within a five star community, this is how we roll.

 

Jerald:

Two weeks later, the governor of our state asked all essential employees to go to work. And for those who are nonessential to contribute by staying at home. Interesting time. I didn’t know that I would have a feeling of jealousy. I’m thinking, wow, people are staying at home and I’m going out. The second emotion I didn’t realize my children would be so afraid. Thank goodness my wife stepped up and really helped me to understand what they were feeling. So when I think about you and me, I think about our families at home, they are heroes. I appreciate your family supporting you, like I’m sure you appreciate my family supporting me. That was a very tough time. And I’m happy to say within a short amount of time, I understood the dignity behind what we were doing each and every day. I committed to my family that I would be safe as I possibly can, but I had to go back to the field in order to serve the residents that we do on a daily basis. Two weeks later, exactly. One month after annual survey, I’m at home, our director of nursing calls, this a Saturday morning. Jerald, the results came back. We have a first COVID positive. Please show the video.

 

Jerald:

This is J Cosey. I’m on my way to work right now. Just had my first positive. I’ll probably show this video one day after the fact. It’s tough because we’ve done everything we can to keep this virus out of our facility and yet it still found a way in. When you have people that need someone to care for them, then we have to take chances and we tried to do the best that we can looking for symptoms. But when you have a virus where people are a-symptomatic, who are carrying. It’s basically a matter of when, not if. So I’m thinking about my family. As I leave them, they’re worried about me. I know they wish I were not going. But I’m a healthcare professional. And I’m a leader. I lead people. So in this type of situation, I attack. This is real. I never in my life thought that I would have a career where I’m placed in a situation where I could literally die from going to work. 

 

Jerald:

Never thought that in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would lead a group people, healthcare professionals, to a battlefield with such risk involved. So with that, I’m going to confront the reality that this stuff is real. I’m going to compete by making sure that I engage, I’m transparent, I’m honest. I’m always going to be honest, transparent. I’m going to pray a great deal. I’m going to ask God, I’m gonna love my residents. I’m going to love my people and I’m going to do my best. And when it’s all said and done, I got to make sure that my family, I gotta come home to my family. Not coming home is not an option. I’m J Cosey. I’m a healthcare leader.  

Jerald:

That was a day that I’ll never forget. Now, if you thought you were listening to my story, I assure you it’s bigger than me. See whether you had the COVID positive in your building or not, this story we have engagement. We have connectivity. This is our story. As I pulled into the parking lot, the streets were basically empty that Saturday. But when I pulled into the parking lot, I saw professionals. I saw automobiles packed in front of the building. See the Friday before all the department heads within the building knew that we had two tests that we were waiting to come back. We had practiced like you would practice disaster preparedness. We ask ourselves what if it happens? But there’s nothing like when it actually does. Our DNS, Shirley, she masterfully managed that war board. Masterfully. It was impressive to see our activities, director Malita and social services, cleaning rooms, to see a business office manager and a maintenance director, putting up curtains. To see every department nursing, culinary, you name it, memory care. Every department leader working in unison. I’ll never forget the two nurses that stepped into our DNS’ office and said, we will work the COVID unit until we can not work anymore.

Jerald:

That was the beginning of me having a deeper feeling for what I was involved with. As we continue to progress through this pandemic and remember back then, things weren’t as easy, or I don’t want to say easy because it’s never been easy, but it was a different COVID back then. It was a different feeling or a different fear if you will. But as we continue to move through, we had more and more residents come up being positive. Well, we’re doing the right thing. We’re serving honorably. But then I began to see articles and news reports say, well, Greenwood Meadows, they aren’t really sharing information. I’m asking myself, do they not know that we haven’t laid off one employee throughout this entire time? Do they not know that we have a team committed to just making phone calls every day? Do they not know that at least one resident, one family member from each resident received a call daily.

Jerald:

And for those that were COVID positive, they received a call with updates on their vitals, as well as recent progress notes and ask if they had a desire to speak with our COVID nurse. At the end of her shift, they would say things like, well, they’re not really communicating how many people have COVID. And I’m thinking that gentleman right there, his mom was diagnosed. She never had symptoms. Do they not know that we tested all of our residents during the month of April three times to put ourselves in a position to identify this ugly virus so that we could get the residents of our community and our employees, the best chance to survive this pandemic. But as a negative press continued to come, there was something brewing within my body. Something that I wasn’t prepared and it’s brewing and it’s bubbling. And what came out was COVID conviction.

Jerald:

The feeling that you have when your career choice transitions over to a career duty. It’s that COVID conviction that develops within your heart when you haven’t slept with your wife and over 12 weeks, and you’ve been married for 26 years. That COVID conviction when your rehab services manager is one treatment away from being intubated. And hasn’t seen her children in 10 weeks. That COVID conviction that boils when you know your activities director, your memory care facility, your memory care specialist is working her tail off, trying to engage our residents, trying to keep everybody as emotionally healthy as possible. That COVID conviction that one has when your social services Barbie, your social services director commits herself to exclusively working on the COVID unit so that she can connect our residents with their families at home, that COVID conviction. We’re engaged through this story.

Jerald:

We understand each other. We have a connection through this COVID conviction. And this COVID conviction is something that we are going to take with us forward as we advance health care as senior healthcare professionals. You can’t buy it. You can’t read about it. You only can live it and do it. On behalf of every senior healthcare leader that I know, thank you. Thank you for the sacrifices you made in order to show up when it was so difficult to do so. For many that COVID conviction is powerful and we should never ever lose it. Let’s give some purpose to our pay. See that COVID conviction really materialized for me when I had to call 32 families and extend my condolences because their loved one died on my watch.

Jerald:

2021 offers so much promise. So much opportunity. The vaccine is starting to help us gain more of a normal life. The vaccine has allowed us to feel a bit safer. We’ve had fewer and fewer communities become COVID positive, and it’s been a blessing. But as engagement specialists, we know we must take our game to the next level. See our residents they’re heroes. They have dealt with so much throughout this pandemic. Remember when I told you we tested our residents three times, that was the old test. The brain scrape if you will. Our residents toughed through that without any real complaints. When it came to being vaccinated, our residents made that choice to give vaccinated, but guess what? We all want to take our craft to the next level. Quality measures are being looked at closely. They’re compounding. Engagement opportunities for activities are compounding.

Jerald:

Every discipline within our communities is requiring us to manage this pandemic because it still exists. But to take our efforts forward and advance senior health care, practicing at the top of our license, practicing at the top of our certifications, and doing our level best to give our residents and improve quality of life. But I ask you, why did you choose such a demanding career? Why did you choose to step into the senior healthcare space? Staffing, requirements, there are too many challenges. Why did you choose this profession? See your why is the motivation behind the preparation? The why is that extra needed push that you need as you’re going through the next pandemic. Bad things happen. What we do when they happen is where the magic happens and the motivation that we have to stay in the game, I believe is found in your why. Let me tell you my why.

Jerald:

A few years ago, I was dealing with ulcerative colitis Crohn’s disease. All of the medications, we exhausted all of them. Nothing else really worked. And a decision was made that I had to have my colon removed. Thus the colostomy bag. Well, on this particular evening, I’m in my room. I’m in the bed. A nurse comes in, she’s checking my vitals, she’s having small talk with me. And my body begins to go into a five-alarm fire type of emergency. See I have to run to the restroom. So when I get up and I run to the restroom, my worst nightmare occurred. I pooped on myself. I’m a grown man. I’m in front of what I thought was a total stranger. And I had an accident in front of this nurse. I was dejected. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. But instantly this nurse came to me and she said, Mr. Cosey,

Jerald:

you have nothing to be embarrassed about. I am here to serve you. Instantly, my dignity was back. Instantly. I felt as though there was no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed. That night as I said in my room, I made the decision that I would leave a 18 year pharmaceutical sales career and I would focus in on what I have started as a ministry, serving seniors and visiting nursing homes. I made the decision that night, that I would do something special the second half of my career. To show people how I felt when I was the recipient of quality care. Quality care that started with you if you’re a nurse out there. Quality care that started every department out there, you haven’t ordered culinary until you haven’t eaten for a few days. You haven’t appreciated housekeeping until the cleanliness of your room determines what type of outcome your health could have.

Jerald:

You haven’t understood the social services department until they helped set up home health care for you when you get out of the hospital. You haven’t understood the meaning of a outstanding wound nurse until you have a gaping hole on your stomach that requires education and ability to know how to take care of it. Quality care first began with all of you all and had the ability to impact and change my life. Now, I started this presentation out by saying everybody has a story, an intimate life journey that when shared with others has the potential to engage and pack and change a life. The story I shared with you, the embarrassing moment that I shared with you resulted in me making a career change, which allows me to be in front of you today. Everybody has a tough story. You are dealing with something in your life that many may not understand, but I tell you when you communicate about it, when you share it with others, I pretty much feel certain that it will give purpose to your pay.

Jerald:

As senior healthcare professionals, we go through moments that I like to call pucker factor moments. It’s moments when that emotional goes from five to 10, in an instant. It can be in a possible elopement in the middle of the night. It can be the first case of COVID in your communities. See what we deal with is emotional. And it requires a great deal of emotional energy. And when the challenges arise, they sometimes make us pucker up to ten. But this is what I know. The industry benefits from the seasoning that comes through those pucker factor moments. The key though is the industry can’t afford to lose you or me to the pucker factor. If we were together, I would give you a white flag. And I would ask you to write on the white flag, why did you choose this profession in the first place?

Jerald:

See, for me on my flag would have to serve and earn. I wanted to serve our seniors and earn for my family. So when the pandemic hit, or when a pucker factor moment hit, and maybe we’ll call it a white flag moment, those are the times when you need to reflect upon what caused you to this industry, because it will give you the fuel needed to keep advancing healthcare forward. The white flag has been around from as far back as 8025. Many people think of it as a cowardly act. I would disagree. The white flag represents to your opponent, I have no other means to resist. I am relinquishing my position to you. See those pucker factor moments, they occur often. They’ll continue to occur. But our last means to resist is always your why. Write it down. Place it in your heart, place it on your desk.

Jerald:

Place it above your activities calendar in your office. Always reflect to that why when you feel as though you have no other means to resist. We are senior healthcare professionals. There’s nothing more honorable than placing the needs of someone else before your very own. So before we get out of here, I want you to know that everybody has a story. Companionship happens when we share that story. So stop, sit, listen, and learn, have a conversation. And if there there’s something deep down within the crevices that maybe you haven’t shared, take a stab at it. Some of the most knowledgeable people in our sphere of influence are the residents in which we serve. Whatever your struggle, whatever your pain, find purpose in that pain. Because I tell you, it will give you the strength that you need to keep moving through it, to find healing and to advance forward.

Jerald:

I encourage you, know your why. At the end of this presentation, I’ll give you my information. I want you to take a picture of that QR code, and I want you to grab a tool that’s going to help you identify your why. It’ll also tell you how to publish it on social media. See, we are a community of healthcare professionals. We are never in this career alone. We are companions with each other. Our stories may be in different parts of the world. Our stories may have different types of people that in which we’re serving, but at the end of the day, there’s a commonality that crosses barriers. And that commonality is that we take pride in serving and caring for others. I thank your family. I thank your residents. I thank the communities in which you work. See we have each other, and I refuse to end this webinar without giving you a warm, thank you from the bottom of my heart. We have a couple of minutes. If you have any questions, thank you for sharing your time with me today was very important to me because I’m speaking to my people, senior healthcare professionals.

Charles:

Wow. Thank you so much, Herald. I know you weren’t able to monitor the chat, but there’s some very important comments. I just want to relay to you right now. The word amazing came up probably 15 to 20 times. People were sharing the fact that they needed to hear this today. They are thankful of the fact that you changed careers. God bless you. It came up several times and they simply want to thank you for reminding them, reminding us that this is the greatest job in the world. Jerald, thank you so much. 

Jerald:

Yeah, it was. I was going to say, thank you. Thank you for all of the positive feedback. And I also want to thank my employee American Senior Communities for giving me the space in order to serve and focus on leaders across the globe. So thank you.

Charles:

Absolutely. I personally want to say, I personally want to thank you for three things. One is as I guess everyone on the line here now, or in the future as this will be shared in the future. When I thank you for this, this amazing presentation. And like one of the audience members said, I’m grateful you changed careers. I’m grateful that you found this why? Because this ability to connect is very rare. So thank you for this. I also want to thank you for the second thing, which is to lead us. It’s kind of easy for me to say this because I don’t work in the front line, but I know that you were front and center when this pandemic unfolded. And I am sure that many, many audience members would love to have you as an administrator and would love to have you in their organization.

Jerald:

And the third thing. And that’s the final thing I’ll say here is, you know, when we were preparing for this presentation today, Jerald, you mentioned the fact that it was a badge of honor to be in the field when the pandemic unfolded. I just want to share with you that for us, it’s a badge of honor to actually be able to serve people like you. Because you and your team and your activity director, your social worker, your memory care specialist, you have all decided to show up at work despite the difficulty and obviously despite the unknown. So we’re extremely grateful for that.

Jerald:

Thank you very much. I really appreciate your comments. 

 

Charles:

Everyone, as we said before, the presentation itself will be made available as a follow-up. Thank you very much for that. I want to share a couple announcements, about Activities Strong and with that we’ll be sharing my screen. First of all, I’m sharing here, Jerald’s email. So please feel free to reach out, whether it’s the presentation materials today or any other questions you might have. Regarding Activities Strong, we also have exciting, additional future events that are going to help us celebrate some of our successes. The one thing I could not be more excited about is our upcoming Activities Strong Summit. As we did last year, we are holding a whole day event on June 22nd, where we will be providing up to six free CEU’s for activity directors, rec therapist, nursing administrators. And one of the things that I’m particularly proud of is that we are starting the day with the voices of activity and life enrichment director with ADIs tag, director of nap and Don Worsley the board of director, president of NCAP.

Charles:

This will be moderated by Matthew of Activities Connection. The rest of the presentation, the rest of the schedule will be made available in the chat here. The other thing I do want to share is how proud we are to have two-third of our session, that involves people living with dementia, such as all Alzheimers and senior living residents. That is the second, the first announcement. The second announcement is that we are holding the first of its kind senior living’s got talent competition. So Megan is sharing the details here, but I can’t tell you how excited we are because we’ve already started receiving submissions. Anyone that lives or work in our industry can provide any time, any type of performances, whether they’re musical or not. And the audience, ie. you will be invited to vote, on our social media platform on June 14th.

Charles:

This is exciting because at the end of the summit, we are going to hold a judging panel and the judging panel is going to include three votes. One vote will be an elephant tag with NAP. The second vote is going to be a group of residents of a senior living community here in Washington, DC. There will be on the zoom as a panel judge, and will be able to vote on the finalist. And the third person, if we’re able to get her, it will be amazing. We will have either the fake, we’re hoping to get the real Dolly Parton. And here’s the thing. We might not get Dolly because she might be busy that day. But if we can, that’d be great. And if we can’t one, we’ll have fun doing it. Two, we believe that we deserve somebody like Dolly to participate in celebrate with us Activities Strong.

Charles:

And the third part is we’re going to invite you to help us get her to come and judge the panel, the senior living got talent competition. And to do this, we are launching as we did last year, our activities strong virtual summit, bingo. And this is the virtual bingo. Megan is sharing with us right now the link. A lot of fun ways to interact one way is to do what we had done last year, which is kind of this Rosie pose, but we want to invite Dolly to join us. And to do this, we’re just going to use a simple hashtag activity strong with Dolly. All instructions are on the sheet. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. And as a last slide here, I’m sharing with you, our upcoming webinars. I want to thank you for your time, Jerald, as I said several times. Thank you. But probably more importantly, thank you for you and your family. And thank you for having found your why today. 

Outro:

Thanks for listening to the Activities Strong Executive Edition series powered by Linked Senior. Find more resources and webinar information @btgvoice.com.

 

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