A day in the life: Workers also have wishes

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Carol Cummings
Carol Cummings
Typically, when a nursing home gets into the business of granting wishes, it's the resident who gets to fulfill a lifelong dream. But Carol Cummings (at left), Brookdale Senior Living's director of Optimum Life, says celebrating the wishes of its workers is just as important.

Brookdale's Optimum Life program focuses on the well-being of residents and staff and comprises six components: emotional, social, physical, intellectual, spiritual and purposeful. Under the wish-granting program, associates apply to have a specific goal accomplished, but it must fulfill all six dimensions. A committee then chooses a recipient based on the application.

One of the first recipients, a nurse, wanted to pursue a healthier lifestyle and to improve her exercise and eating habits. Brookdale helped her do this by giving her a gym membership and providing childcare services. Another associate asked for help taking her ailing mother to Niagara Falls.

“Caregivers in general tend to think about other people more than they think about themselves,” Cummings says. “They have to work a little bit on balancing their lives. We tell our associates that if they're going to help residents achieve well-being, it's important that they take care of themselves first.”

“Everybody in our community is eligible to apply,” Cummings adds. “In my mind, even if someone doesn't do direct care for a resident, you're still giving a lot, whether you work in housekeeping or are an administrator.”
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