Whether it's the delightful aroma of a stew cooked from scratch wafting through the air, the warm smiles that greet you at every turn, the laughter coming from the common room or the loving way the caregivers call the residents "mama" or "papa", the moment you step into Grace Living, you get a sense that it is not just a house, but a home.
At Grace Living, we try our very best to re-create the love and warmth of our residents' previous homes. We want them to feel safe and secure, and of course, happy to wake up to a new day. In order to achieve this, our team members take the time to truly get to know each resident -- their favorite foods, funny memories, which outfit makes them feel amazing, must-see daily shows, etc. While other facilities advise their caregivers to not get too attached or personal, we do just the opposite. We encourage and expect our caregivers to fall madly in love with each resident with whom they are blessed enough to provide care. It is quite literally in their job description to get attached, to know and understand the ins and outs of the person they are spending time with and to try everyday to make them feel loved and cherished. The staff loves preparing the favorite dishes of someone who's having a bad day, painting their nails or giving them a new hairstyle to remind them how beautiful or handsome they still are, or doesn't mind going to the store when one of our residents' favorite snacks are running dangerously low. They also enjoy playing their favorite songs to cheer them up or to sit down and look through photos together and reminisce of days past.
And while loving the residents with reckless abandon may cause our team to feel sad when they are no longer with us or when they see their health slowly but surely declining, we encourage our staff to go ahead and acknowledge the sadness they may feel, and as an alternative, focus on the good they are able to do for our residents in even a short amount of time. What an honor and blessing it is to fill a person's final chapter(s) with so much joy and love!
Because of the important role of the caregiver, they help write a "happy ending" to each resident's riveting story. Most seniors say they are afraid to die alone or they spend a lot of time worrying about how they can get through the day safely or if they'll know what to do when/if they have an accident and need to call for help. By being a part of our home, they no longer have those fears and anxieties and can just focus on enjoying life to the fullest. Our caregivers are able to give the gift of peace of mind for our residents and their families, and that, is an incredibly fulfilling, albeit at times challenging, endeavor.
It's a little unorthodox, but has worked out well for our homes. Yes, the death of someone we care for naturally leaves behind sadness and having to grieve for so many people on an ongoing basis can be challenging and difficult; but those raw and real emotions are the price of a great love and evidence that someone special in our life is no longer physically here. So when our homes experience something tragic like this, we take our emotions and choose instead to re-direct that sadness and turn it into fulfillment in having made such a profound difference in someone's life. Once we've had a good cry, we allow ourselves to feel excited for a new opportunity to once again offer that same kind of love and compassion to another elderly person in need.
This culture of allowing our residents and team members to feel real emotions and create a family-like bond has been the secret sauce to why our Grace Living
facilities are not facilities at all -- but rather, warm and robust homes overflowing with love and compassion.
There is no "clinical feel" to our environment; only a welcoming space for our residents and their families and friends to flourish and thrive during a time in their lives where so many feel lonely, afraid and abandoned. Our motto at Grace Living is, "Home isn't a place, it's a feeling" and we strive daily to recreate the peace and joy the phrase "home sweet home" truly evokes.
I'd like to take this opportunity to offer my utmost gratitude and respect to the hard work each and every caregiver we employ pours into the lives of each resident we have had in our homes. Their role, and all that in entails physically, mentally and emotionally, can sometimes get overlooked, but they are truly the heroes and angels on earth that deserve so much recognition and applause. Thanks to their beautiful hearts of service, we are able to walk this journey together with the families who have entrusted us with the care of their loved ones all these years.