Editorial: Reason for Holiday Cheer
BY RICHARD L. PECK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
As you will note in our lead article this month, we are offering the long-term care field a holiday gift of our own-a set of vignettes on how facilities celebrate the season’s religious and New Year’s traditions. It stands in stark contrast with much of our usual fare, the painful but necessary truths of operating in long-term care today. It feels good to do this, and we hope that you feel the same.
But that “holiday glow” may not be the only reason to feel cheered up these days. Recently an anecdote told by Larry Minnix, president and CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), about his family during the Depression sparked a warm family memory of my own, with overtones of meaning, as it turns out, for the nursing home field.
My story involves my maternal grandparents trying to survive the Depression by literally swapping their city home for a more economical rural cottage and, for six years, living the basics of country life-gathering wood for the stove, hauling water from the well, growing their own vegetables, sewing by candlelight. As my grandfather commuted to whatever city job he could find, my grandmother-city-born and -bred-performed the hard labor and raised three children with, I’m told, unfailing good humor. “You did what you had to do to survive,” she once told me.
Minnix’s own story involved his family and neighbors in rural Georgia helping each other with chores and family necessities through the lean years. Most importantly, he linked this survival ethic to providers’ response to the discouraging situation facing long-term care today. He said he had the impression from conversations with facility operators at the fall AAHSA meeting that they all felt they were “in it” together; they were supporting each other and doing the best they could, with minimal resources and scant outside encouragement, to provide quality resident care. Despite all the difficulties, he said, they conveyed a sense of feeling upbeat.
These examples of human resilience give me cheer, as well. In that spirit, may we at Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Management wish you an especially meaningful Happy Holidays. NH
Richard L. Peck was editor in chief of I Advance Senior Care / Long-Term Living for 18 years. For eight years previous to that, he served as editor of the clinical magazine Geriatrics. He has written extensively on developments in the field of senior care and housing.