If you would have told me in January 2020 that we’d have a pandemic kill over 250,000 Americans (to date), an economy on the brink of disaster, civil unrest in our nation’s greatest cities, and a country more divided than ever…
I don’t know, I might have believed you. These last 4 years have kept us all on edge and have thrown surprise after surprise our way.
Here we are, November 2020, with a new president-elect and a soon-to-be female vice president, and I have to be straight up with you: I’m grateful.
I’m grateful that so many women who came before our new vice president spoke up and took leadership roles and showed what it means for women to be in the workforce. I’m grateful that finally in 2020, in our modern, democratic country, real change is coming.
I’m grateful that the senior living companies I came up in are now filled with women in their top-level roles. Those leadership roles now consist of heels, and of color, and that is not something that was there back in my early days, a mere 15 years ago.
I’m grateful that this company that my husband and I built is filled with strong, creative, hard-working, empathic, dedicated women, and a few equally impressive men. I’m grateful that we support each other and build each other up and look for ways in which we can improve every single day.
I look back on the hundreds of senior living communities I’ve visited over the years. I look back on the thousands upon thousands of conversations and interviews and photo sessions I led with seniors, mostly women. I realize that women have always been the leaders. They’ve been what has tied our society together: our teachers, our social workers, our support system. They are our silent, persistent, empathetic, leaders.
And now, thanks to tireless efforts from all of the women before us, there’s a bigger seat for them at the table.
2020 has steered this country into a dark place. In senior living, it’s brought challenges like I’ve never seen. Residents scared and moving out, residents passing, families not able to visit, seniors not sure if now is a safe time to move – on top of the holiday season and election season, which are two of the largest drops of new residents we normally see in senior living. This year has been filled with so many challenges: buildings less full, tired staff, depressed seniors, lack of social experiences.
And yet, I look into the photos I see on Facebook of the 80+ communities that we serve across the United States, and I see families dancing outside of buildings, bringing cheer to their loved ones; I see smiles on seniors faces who are still being cared for; I see associates continuing to quarantine themselves outside of work to ensure they are as safe as humanly possible when they walk into those senior living doors. I see family, connection, and fellowship. Even on our darkest days.
I then see my own senior loved ones alone at home, not sure when they will see their next visitor; not sure what to do about groceries or medical care or how to stay moving.
And I realize: senior living communities will always thrive. Community is what we’re after: socialization, smiles, support: that will always thrive, and that is the essence of senior living.
Positive change is all around us: in our leadership in this country, in our leadership in large and small companies, in the new ways of connecting with our loved ones.
On this day in November 2020, I’m grateful to have chosen this field that’s committed to caring for our most vulnerable population. I’m grateful that in small ways, my company is helping to change those lives. And I’m grateful that we can sit back and see a new America entering our workforces and our leadership teams and leading our country.
I believe a new day is upon us.