With another year drawing to a close, itís time to sit back and review both our personal and professional activities over the past twelve months. It is, indeed, a very reflective time, a time when (if we are totally honest with ourselves) we probably ask ourselves on more than one occasion, ďWhy in heavenís name am I still working in long term care?Ē
This has been a challenging year, not only for the long term care profession, but for our nation and for our world. We have been challenged in ways that make prior year challenges pale in comparison. I am convinced, however, that these challenges, although tragic beyond description, in many ways have been good for us. They have helped us to refocus our priorities and to develop our character. They have taught us a great deal about who we are and they have brought us together. They have helped us to address our weaknesses and to develop our strengths. These challenges have forced us to focus on what is important to us today.
Through all this searching for answers, I have come to the realization that as long term care professionals, we are a different kind of people. We are not out seeking fame and fortune. We strive for something more enduring; we labor to accumulate treasures of the heart. We measure our level of success not by money or position, but rather by the level of quality we bring into an individualís life. Could there be a way of life that means more than that?
I continuously marvel at the dedication, the courage, the strength, and the compassion that radiates from the employees of WAHSA member facilities. You -- each and every one of you -- are what makes long term care everything it is. You are making a difference in the lives of many individuals - individuals who have been entrusted to your care by their own family and friends. With every smile you share, with every tear you dry, with every heart you calm, meal you serve, account you settle, room you clean, gadget you fix, item you wash -- you are touching a life. And people are grateful. Although there are many times when their words donít say it and their actions do not always show it, look into peopleís hearts. Look at what you are doing to enhance the lives of those for whom you care, and know that people, many people, are thankful for what you do and are indebted to you for your kindness.
I know these are difficult times. Your days are very stressful and there may be times when you do not believe you can continue the constant balancing act. I know, however, that deep inside you have the strength to carry on.
So, why are you still in long term care? Because as a long term care professional, you cherish the feeling you get knowing you make life better for other people. Because you know others reflect on your contributions with awe, silently envious of the way you care and the way you are loved by others. Because no profession can match the level of personal satisfaction long term care has to offer.
Your journey as a caring person is a journey for a lifetime. No matter where you go, no matter what you do, caring always will be a part of you. With that thought, I ask you to take some time today to recall why you chose this profession in the first place. Then, with this reflective passion, take note of the miracles you perform - yesterday, today, tomorrow. Caring for people, caring about people. This is who you are. This is who you are meant to be. You are right where you should be and I hope this is where you will stay. Our world needs you.
As 2001 draws to an end, this seems like the perfect opportunity to let you know I am very proud of the extraordinary work teams within each and every WAHSA member facility. I am proud of who you are and I am proud of what you do. You are the very essence of compassionate, quality care. Thank you for making this profession the honorable calling that it is.
WAHSA Executive Director
Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
204 South Hamilton Street
Madison, WI 53703 USA