BFF

I have been thinking a lot this weekend about an interaction I had with one of my seniors. I took her to the doctor last week. That medical campus is torn up leaving very few parking spots for the bus. She is completely capable of walking so we parked far away. It was a bit of a walk so I apologized to her. She said, “Exercise never hurt anyone. Well, maybe it hurts you. I know you just had a baby!”

Wwwhhhhaaatttt?? When did that happen? I just brushed it off because it is her reality and there is no sense breaking it.

When inside the clinic she proceeded to tell everyone about my tall husband who gives her hugs and is just the nicest person alive. (I really cannot wait to meet him!) She told everybody that her parents abandoned her to get a divorce and that I am taking care of her and am her best friend. I am pretty sure she thinks I am older than her. She told everybody about how my husband, new baby, and I took her in. As we walked back to the bus swinging our arms hand-in-hand she leaned her head on my shoulder and thanked me for always being there for her. I wanted to cry…

Today her husband came to visit. She thinks he is her father so she was so happy that she wasn’t abandoned anymore. An hour before he came I told her I was going to take her with me to pick up another resident from visiting his wife. I walked outside to say hi to her family and she told her “dad” she needed to leave because we had a friend date. She told them I was her best friend ever. They just said, “Thank you for being her best friend.” Again, I wanted to cry…

I can not even explain how humbled and honored I feel to take care of these sweet seniors with dementia. Days can be hard, my patience can wear thin, but I just think of all the times these seniors have leaned their head on my shoulder, as their best friend. It is a tremendous responsibility to have this trust. A responsibility I do not take lightly.

So, I now have a baby and a tall-handsome husband and will let my dear, sweet resident live her reality being my best friend in my best life with my new little family. I am glad she gets to live in my dreams for the future.

What I Learned as President of Aegis Living for a Day

Today I was promoted and demoted, all within 8 hours. Getting to spend the day with the president of Aegis Living was inspiring and educational.

Here is what I learned, not just from the president but also about the home office:

 

Lead a Team Without Fear:

You can tell how an employee immediately feels about their supervisor by the way they speak to them and about them. I learned very quickly (and have known for a while) how many people respect and honor Judy. You can see the trust people have in her and how seriously she takes that trust.

 

Be Humorous:

Anyone who says there is not room for humor and fun in the workplace is working in the wrong place. You can lead a team and have them respect and listen to you at the same time. Everybody was so happy today! Now I know it might not always be that way but EVERYBODY was happy to be at work and looked like they enjoy what they do. I think that is a direct correlation to our leadership at Aegis Living. It really is important to be happy, joke, and have fun at work!

 

There is A lot of Boring Stuff, But Important Stuff:

3:52:51… That is how long the monthly meeting was this morning. (And they get to do it again tomorrow!) And although breaks were scheduled, they did not get them because it was more important to offer support. Yes, this meeting could be deemed boring but it was important. I have always heard about variance calls but really did not know what was involved. No matter where census was for a community, the leaders patiently listened, cheered on, and coached those involved. These meeting could easily be turned into a negative experience but it really was a time to reflect, make goals, and support each other. There is a time and place for everything (including performance reviews) and the people involved in these meetings know this full well and mentioned how it was not a time to embarrass people or belittle but to support and honor hard work. And really that it is never okay to belittle or embarrass someone.

 

Say, “Thank You!”:

Judy says thank you to everybody. It feels nice to be thanked and it such a simple thing to do. I have recently been actively seeking opportunities to verbally say thank you and physically write a card of thanks to those around me. Judy is great at this. I have work to do at this.

 

Multi-tasking:

Judy works hard! Judy needs more hours in the day. I am so amazed at how she can do 5 things at once and not lose concentration or track of what is going on. Judy works hard because she honestly and truly cares.

 

Transparency:

Quote of the day, “Be honest quicker!” I mentioned that this was something I noticed about Aegis Living within the first couple months of working with them and something I had not experienced at other work places. We are humans, mistakes happen, but it is even more important to be honest and take accountability. I feel it is so easy to talk your way around situations but Aegis Living is wonderful at taking accountability and learning from experiences. It is obviously hard to be wrong, but oh so rewarding to not lose trust and respect by being honest.

 

There Are Coasters Everywhere:

Respect where you work! Aegis Living has done an amazing job of building an office where you can be comfortable, productive, supported, and inspired. There are quotes on the walls, inspiring art work and photographs, indoor and outdoor space. The bathrooms are amazing (and the woman’s bathroom walls are glittery!) They respect their environment and there was literally coasters everywhere to protect the beauty and amazingness of the warm and natural supplies used. (We asked a male employee to check the men’s bathroom so I could get a picture!)

I learned there is a difference between doing the right thing and a need to be financially stable and responsible. I learned Aegis Living will do anything in their power to help someone out, but being financially stable is also important in making sure buildings are properly maintained and that there is enough staff to do the work needed. It is not ALL about the finances, but they are important too.

I learned (already knew it!) how much I despise the word boss! I hope someday I can learn to be the type of boss Judy is. Judy leads with respect but does not hold herself higher than others. Judy cares about what she does and cares about the people she works with. Judy has obviously learned a lot and wants to mentor and teach and encourage those around her. Judy is smart! She is really smart!

I also learned I am not done learning from Judy! I want to learn more and have a list of questions to still ask her.

I was also reminded of all the amazing people I get to work and learn from:

Laurel Cline, my General Manager

Janaira Stokes, my Marketing Director

Chris Corrigall and Emese Crumb, the Vice President of Life Enrichment and Director of Life Enrichment

I have AMAZING MENTORS! I sometimes can not believe how lucky I am to work with such smart, supportive, and inspiring people.

And my greatest disappointment of all: I didn’t get a photo with Judy! But I did get one with the CEO and Owner, Dwayne Clark.