These Resident, these Heroes

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These Resident, these Heroes

Posted on December 9, 2009

Sometimes people forget that retirement communities are normal social spaces where interactions happen all the time. There are exchanges between residents, with caregivers, the families and the outside world.
The social landscape of a community has the same characteristics of any other groups of men and women: there are leaders, loners, and active or less active members, funny or more serious people; there are also queen bees and wannabes. And sometimes, there are heroes.

Heroes are residents that distinguish themselves by extraordinary acts or behaviors, during one time events or over the course of time. They are individuals that are respected and whom their reputation was forged thanks to their accomplishment and the way they conduct themselves.
A great example of a community hero is a 98-year-old nursing home volunteer: Nearly 99, Catherine Walker is a resident at a Crestwood, Illinois senior community; she became involved helping Alzheimer’s patients and has built an incredible reputation.

You have people who live, who go through their lives and do amazing things and never get noticed. That’s Catherine. She’s someone who has made a difference in all these people’s lives. Without her around so much they might otherwise be sitting and staring into space. She keeps them going.”

These heroes are invaluable assets of a community as they help set an example while enhancing the atmosphere and giving pride to a community. This is why it is important to identify and recognize such examples.

Many companies have put in place program that help them identify employees that perform extraordinarily, even CNN has their CNN hero of the year program – why not retirement communities?

The best way to do this is to have a “Caught in the act” program to recognize excellent service, excellent behavior or excellent attitude on the part of a resident. If a resident did something extraordinary, there should be a way for other residents or staff member to report this anonymously or not and a process by which the resident receives an award and recognition.

One of the great effects of putting such program in place is that it creates a sense of purpose for residents and allows excellence and beyond expectations behaviors to be rewarded and respected.