Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Working Together for Change

This Sunday is the annual Race for the Cure event in my home town (Portland, Oregon). It’s an event I’ve been participating in for several years, and one I’ve encouraged my daughters to attend with me year after year.

The first time I attended the Race I spent the entire time in tears – what an emotional experience to see so many women, moving together with a force that only comes from joining together for one purpose and one goal. At the time, I wondered what incredible things we could achieve if we put that kind of effort into other needed changes in society.

I often reflect on this experience as I work with senior care providers, training the next generation of senior care administrators, managers and caregivers. What a force we can be when we join together to achieve a goal!

Too often in this profession, however, we tend to want to protect our turf, and focus only inward. Instead of tapping into each others’ skills and services, we try to “reinvent the wheel” by doing everything in house. We miss the tremendous benefits we can gain by going outside our own circle and sharing our expertise, asking advice, or standing together for a cause.

The folks in Hendersonville, NC know the power of joining together to solve a problem. Instead of protecting turf and hording resources, they’re joining forces to reach out to impoverished seniors who cannot afford to purchase medical equipment – equipment that may make the difference, for many, between the ability to live independent lives or becoming dependant, increasingly frail seniors.

Carillon Assisted Living (1550 Charles Rd Shelby, NC 28152) is at the head of the pack, collecting donated items 7 days a week and working together with the Salvation Army and other area non-profit organizations.

Associations like the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging and the American Health Care Association provide a vehicle for providers to join forces for change on a national scale, and in that manner those organizations have achieved amazing things.

As those of us who are both senior care professionals and aging boomers know, however, change starts right here at home, in my town, in our state. Working to improve the quality of care provided to seniors right here is a cause we can support – together.

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