My parents were married for over 70 (seventy!) years. They were a force as a couple. When they would get their minds set, there was nothing I could do to change the course of their actions. 

My father was legally blind as a result of macular degeneration, and my mother suffered from advancing dementia. Mom would drive as she had the vision, and Dad would tell her where to turn and how to get home as he had memorized the turns. Between them, they had one pair of eyes that could see and a brain that could remember. Together, they would navigate the world.

Before you write to me with rightful emotion about how unsafe it was that my parents were driving, I know, and I agree. Preserving an older adult’s independence and maintaining safety is much more complicated than discussing the need for safety with other families. I pleaded with my parents, spoke about using drivers, and even set up a schedule that would allow them to have someone behind the wheel taking them to wherever they wanted to be. They refused because they wanted to go when they wanted to go.

I tried guilt, begging and any other emotional response I could muster to influence different actions, but it did not work. They wanted to go when they wanted to go. In hindsight, my father held on fiercely to being independent more than my mother. There is always a driver guiding and pushing forward or pushing back when it comes to change or resisting it. 

Like you, I was trained in change management. I have studied the 5 C’s of change, the 7 R’s, the 4 P’s, and lastly, the 4 R’s. The four R’s are Reflect, Review, Reconnect and Reboot. The 4 P’s are People, Process, Purpose and Performance. The 5 C’s are Culture, Communication, Courage, Conviction and Compassion. Lastly, the 7 R’s are Raised, Reason, Return, Risks, Resources, Responsibility and Relationship.

Remember Kurt Lewin’s model of change? His model involves three steps: Unfreezing, changing and refreezing. I have tried to unfreeze — change — and refreeze the 5 C’s, 7 R’s, 4 P’s or 4 R’s. While I am being a little cheeky, change is not about numbers and letters but about people who “want to go where/when they want to go.”

Yes, change is about people like my parents who have deeply entrenched habits and a fierce desire to maintain their living patterns or workflow. Change takes Courage (one of the 5 C’s), it takes People (one of the 4 P’s), it takes willingness to Reboot (one of the 4 R’s), and it takes Resources (one of the 7 R’s).

When making a change, you will need courage as a leader to lead forward, you will need people to believe in what you want to do, you will need to reboot the organization, and resources to support the reboot. I call this model of change — CPRR.

Martie L. Moore, MAOM, RN, CPHQ, is the President/CEO of M2WL Consulting. She has been an executive healthcare leader for more than 25 years. She has served on advisory boards for the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel, American Nurses Association, Dean’s Advisory Board at the University of Central Florida College of Nursing and Sigma, International Honor Society for Nursing. She was honored by Saint Martin’s University with an honorary doctorate degree for her service and accomplishments in advancing healthcare.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.

Have a column idea? See our submission guidelines here.