Dear Assisted Living Facility Employees,
Please be kind to my mother. Please know what it's taken me 46 years to learn -- that her silence doesn't mean she fails to appreciate you. Also, please know how much she relies on your being there every day to do your job. Even though she might not have said "Thank you." Ever. My sisters and I count on you to look after our mother when we can't. With that in mind, I've taken the liberty of preparing your New Years Resolutions for 2005:
1. I will treat every resident as if s/he were my own parent.
2. I will smile and greet residents warmly. I will initiate conversations.
3. I will remember that I will be old and dependent and I will treat my charges the way I hope to be treated at the end of my life.
4. I will learn about the residents' lives before they became old and dependent, in an effort to appreciate them as individuals.
5. I will understand that residents' lives have narrowed to the point that food has taken on new importance. Since food is one of their few remaining sensual pleasures, I will prepare and serve their food with passion and skill.
6. I will be creative in finding ways to provide social interaction for the residents by enlisting the help of school children, clergy and volunteers.
7. I will learn that seniors -- especially elderly women -- may not be skilled in asking for what they want. I will learn to offer help in a way that allows residents to receive help while maintaining their dignity.
8. I will organize with other workers to improve the working conditions at the facility. This will result in a more professional, committed staff and a healthier environment for us all.
Thank you for the care you give my mother and all seniors in your care. May you have health and joy in the new year. May all your kindness come back to you tenfold.