Why is this business so personal to me?
It seems this question could be so simple, but like most important life questions, it can be also multi-layered, even requiring contemplation verging on complex…
The truth is, there is no one reason this business is personal to me. The reason or reasons can change with each week of owning a Home Instead Senior Care franchise. It can even change from day to day. But there is a recent example I can sight which is one of the many reasons this business is so personal to me. I thought about my last Home Instead Senior Care work week, as I began to ruminate about this question. Last week I had planned and conducted a Christmas in July luncheon for all our “referral providers”, there were Home Health companies, Hospices, a nursing home in Laurel, MS , a VA facility, assisted living and Medicaid Waiver companies in our community who have participated within the past several years and who attended our luncheon. I had cooked all the food, various casseroles, salads, vegetables, (with the exception of my nice husband who smoked a turkey) and had also planned, facilitated this luncheon/planning meeting. During the meeting, we were discussing our past successes as well as possible improvements to our program this year upcoming. The name of the program is Be A Santa To A Senior, and we have been sponsoring this since the year 2009. This is one of the programs which Home Instead Senior Care sponsors to give back to the community. This program can be and has been time and labor intensive as it involves not only our community/volunteer participation, but our company – staff and caregivers alike. We organize the program with a tree lighting ceremony, often coordinating with the Mayor of Hattiesburg, but also make sure the ornaments are placed on the tree, taken off the tree and making sure each senior receives a gift. It involves a huge amount of work and participation with our staff as the gifts come into our office, and are sorted by staff for each individual. Often the individual will receive multiple gifts. It involves stepping around a large number of gifts in our office around busy Christmas time. It involves someone making sure the tree is “refreshed” each day to ensure these needy seniors receive a gift. My staff can be already overloaded with their own daily responsibilities but can see the big picture of what this means to these seniors. Everyone can be stressed around the holidays, and this program requires a lot of time and energy. BUT!, with all that said, all it takes is a comment or story from a social worker or senior representative that can make all this “work” worthwhile. For example, one of the activity directors of a nursing home said to me during the meeting “You know, we really want to thank you for making our residents feel so special, we couldn’t do it without you…and then goes on to tell me a story about last year, one of their elderly residents, a gentlemen who is in a wheelchair, placed himself outside the activity room an HOUR AND A HALF EARLY prior to the activity of receiving gifts to make absolutely sure he would be one of the first to participate in the gift unwrapping session. One of the other residents, an elderly woman who was just admitted the week prior, who had no family to speak of, with tears streaming down her face while she unwrapped her gifts, said, “I don’t know what I did to deserve this, I just don’t know!”… Another Home Health social worker related that one of her patients received a purple velour jacket which has become of her very favorite clothes items, so much she doesn’t take it off even in the summer!
Then I shared at the planning meeting two of the sweetest thank you notes we received from two different seniors last year. In it, one of the seniors receiving a gift of quilting materials and a warm jacket said, “Thank you so much for the wonderful Christmas presents. I surely needed a warm jacket and I absolutely loved the quilt and quilting supplies.” I am always doing them for others and don’t have many myself. .Bless you all for what you do for seniors. It’s hard getting old ..but it does beat the alternative I suppose.” And another: “Thank you for your show of kindness. She underlined the words, “You have touched my Heart!!, May God Bless each of you”…
In reading this same thank you note to the group last week, I found one of the many reasons I think this business so personal to me. It states, “There is no greater gift that any individual can impart,
Than to simply reach out, and touch another’s heart.”
Is this just a “mushy” Hallmark statement to be read once a year, put away, and not be taken too seriously? Maybe. But I really believe in this Hallmark statement lies the essence of why this business is so personal to me. It makes me want to reach outside of myself, outside of my own selfish tendencies to think about, it gives me and my staff, our community an opportunity to step outside ourselves and to act on one of the highest purposes I believe we are here on earth for: to help one another. And this opportunity is presented each day in many different ways. This is one of the reasons my business is so personal to me.
-Anna Edenfield, Franchise Owner, Home Instead Senior Care Hattiesburg, MS