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The Heart of Senior Living is Evident Following Major Hurricanes

October 5, 2017 | James Balda

Heart of senior living evident following hurricanesFollowing the devastation left by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma across Texas and Florida, we were heartened at Argentum to see the many positive stories of operational success and senior living community staff going above and beyond to ensure residents received the care and comfort they needed—exhibiting the true heart of senior living.

Dozens of letters of gratitude poured into communities from family members and residents, thanking staff for both their coordinated preparation and their many selfless acts of kindness

We are extremely appreciative of the dedication and sacrifices made by you and your staff, and we were so comforted to know that our family members were (and are) being cared for with such love and compassion. I thank God every day that we succeeded in moving my father there, so that he was safe and secure and with my mother.”
Belmont Village family member

Staff compassion even went beyond community gates, helping nearby neighbors in need. One community shared a story of two brothers, seniors with significant health-related issues, who lived across the street from their community. Staff at the community worked together to help guide the brothers through the knee-high water in the street to the community where they provided them warm shelter, dry clothes, food and water, and even a health assessment. 

Equally as comforting were the efforts senior living providers took to ensure their staff and associates received the resources they needed to help manage their own hardships resulting from the hurricanes—both during and after the storms. Several providers not only allowed for temporary residence and shelter for staff and often their families (and pets, too!) during the hurricanes, but many have set up funds to support associates who may need financial assistance, whether it be to repair flooded homes or to restock food items lost due to power outages. One provider even set up the ability for employees across the country to donate hours of personal leave to staff in the Houston area who may need extra time off to recover and rebuild.

“It was the most humbling experience I have ever had. This storm made me appreciate a lot of things and look at life differently. Autumn Leaves opened their doors to my family in order to keep them safe and us together. They opened their doors to help others affected by the pending storm. They kept all of us safe and free from harm. I would not change anything and would do it all over again to care for our residents and families!”
Autumn Leaves employee

Working in senior living provides a unique experience, where a shared and mutual respect between staff and residents not only exists, but is clear and evident -- especially during times of crisis. That’s why words like “family,” “team,” and “community” are commonplace across senior living, reminding us that what we do makes a real difference for individual people each and every day.

In the upcoming issue of Senior Living Executive, The Finance Issue, our “Heart of Senior Living” recurring column will highlight some of the staff heroes who displayed compassion and resilience during the hurricanes. Be sure to visit argentum.org/sle toward the end of October to read more.

Donations to the Atria Cares fund will help employees and their families impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

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About James Balda

James Balda is a guest author for OnShift’s blog and the President and CEO of Argentum, the largest national association exclusively dedicated to senior living communities and the seniors and families they serve.

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