This afternoon I had the pleasure of delivering an impressive Valentine's Day arrangement to a resident. She had been quietly enjoying her Saturday, which consisted mostly of sitting in her recliner watching television and waiting for dinner. Suddenly, though, I popped around the corner holding a lovely bouquet from the local florist. It was an event, and one we both enjoyed.
I work with a great Director who sometimes laments that she misses the days when she was able to work more directly with the residents. You've heard your managers voice similar concerns, reflecting on their former roles in direct care positions and supervisory roles. As a department leader or Administrator in a CCRC setting though, these daily opportunities are rarely included in your job description. You must seek them out; they probably won't just come to you. Even as a leader, as a manager, as a Director, you must connect with the residents you serve. Especially as a leader.
So I grab these flowers from the reception desk as I scoot in this morning. Sure, they probably already called down to the nurses station when the flowers arrived, and someone on the other end said they'd be down when they had a moment. I may even pass them on the way down. But c'mon, this is no chore! I'm heading that way anyways, so I'll just take those flowers, Nancy!
It's a ten-minute walk across campus as I snake through the buildings, and though I sometimes exaggerate, I'm sure no less than 15 people made some comment about these flowers. What a hit! This will definitely be a feel-good moment for Ms. R. As I finally reach her room, I hear one last person down the hall saying, "Awwwww, for me?" I knock and thrust the roses in front of the awed resident for her inspection.
For the next 15 minutes, this lovely resident tells me all about her family as I help her unpack the carefully cellophaned arrangement. I make sure to ask her permission each time I pull anything away, and I am careful not to look at the contents of the card. I don't throw anything away without her permission either, and I make sure that the flowers are left in a place that is a) sturdy, b) where she can see them, and c) in a place where other people can see them and ask her about them.
So what, you ask? Well, I find that I often miss these opportunities with both my own Grandmother and other people's Grandmothers, and now I'm reminded of the little things in life. So, if you have a Grandma, send her flowers for Valentine's Day - it really DOES make her feel good. And if you're an employee, grab the flowers when you walk past them at the reception desk.
It's your perfect opportunity to connect.