It’s easy to sympathize with long-term care providers who feel stuck in that glass-half-empty mindset. Legislators treat you like a political punching bag to your face, while taking $1 billion out of your collective back pocket and touting it as a victory. And you’re facing hurricanes and wildfires that leave your facilities decimated, with politicians highlighting the failures and saying even further regulation may be needed.

Even half of that is enough to make the brightest optimist turn gray, but come on, it’s the holidays! You’ll hopefully be taking a few days off soon, to be greeted with a house full of relatives and a belly full of turkey. Plus, there has been plenty of long-term care victories to celebrate.

Cynthia Morton, the executive VP of the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care, for one, is thankful that Congress “finally repealed the therapy cap,” which she says was “not patient-centered in any way,” and prevented important PT for “patients who needed it the most.” She’s also thankful, as is the case for many years past, for her mother’s pecan pie. “Her recipe is the only one!” she told me.

Another LTC policy wonk, David Grabowski, a professor in healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School, said besides his upcoming sabbatical, he’s thankful to see that the field is “(slowly!) getting some much-needed attention from policymakers.” As one example, he noted recent federal moves to increase care integration for those who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

As I’m sure has been the case for a very long time in this profession, many are grateful for the certified nurse aides and other frontline caregivers who make this profession tick.

“I’m thankful for every CNA,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, told me. “They are under appreciated, underpaid, and yet selflessly perform work that few want to do. I’m in awe of them and what they do.”  When he’s not at work, however, he’s also thankful for his two doxies, the election finally fading into the rearview, and that “Patrick Mahomes is a Kansas City Chief,” added the former Kansas governor.

Similarly, Brian Jurutka, the chief of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, is thankful for “the many caregivers and people who give so much of their time, energy and effort caring for others.” Same for Tracy Moorhead, CEO of the AAPACN, noting the many nurses and LTC professionals who “tirelessly care for residents day in and day out.”

“The passion that our members have is so evident in how they seek to do their job,” said the head of the American Association of Post-Acute Care Nurses. “Our members have suffered West Coast fires, East Coast hurricanes and Midwest floods. We are so thankful for their dedication to care for their residents in times of need.”

Along with being “awestruck” by her employees, Janet Snipes is most thankful for her residents. It’s evident in the fact that she’s been with the Holly Heights Nursing Center in Denver for more than 40 years.

“I am thankful for the residents I serve at Holly Heights,” said Executive Director Snipes, whose facility won a Gold Excellence in Quality Award from the AHCA earlier this year. “They built our great nation and I am honored to hear their stories and inspired to provide a nurturing home for them to live in.”

Daniel Reingold — another long-time nursing home leader, who we profiled in July — had many thanks to tally in 2018. Those included getting permission to build New York City’s first Life Plan community, earning LeadingAge’s Award of Honor, and that his mentor, Larry Minnix, just published his memoirs “so we can all learn from him.” Oh, and he’s also “grateful that my wife won’t let me in the kitchen this Thanksgiving and has put me in charge of the fireplace and football,” adds the president and CEO of RiverSpring Health.

Katie Smith Sloan, the current CEO of LeadingAge who succeeded Minnix, said she’s thankful for, and uplifted by, the interconnectedness of the field. She cited member organization Immanuel of Omaha, NE, which earlier this year raised $250,000 to help the employees of 21 nursing homes that went into receivership. Staff at those homes continued to work, without pay, and Immanuel donated gift cards to those employees and designated $250,00 to help them purchase food and supplies for the needs of the residents.

“I constantly see examples of caring. I’m grateful for being a part of a community with deep belief in the common good,” Smith Sloan says.  

As for me, I’m just thankful to be covering an industry that has so much intrigue on a daily basis, readers who seem to genuinely care about what this publication puts out, and an editor who puts up with my writing foibles while making me better in the process. Pumpkin pie and the fact that Khalil Mack is a Chicago Bear help a little bit too.

What about you?