I’ve always considered Thanksgiving to be among the best of all American holidays.

It’s easy to take what we have here for granted. But the fact remains, this is a land of unmatched freedom and opportunity. Not that it’s always crimson and clover.

For example, consider what skilled care providers are up against. They are steering their facilities through some pretty turbulent waters these days. Many might be inclined to conclude that all things considered, there’s not much to be thankful for at the moment.

Starting with staffing shortages. Yes, it can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack when it comes to finding compassionate employees. Still, isn’t it wonderful that you have the rare chance to create a workplace culture that attracts people who want to make a difference? That opportunity to help build a team that cares as much about the residents as you do seems like something to be pretty grateful for.

Nor do inadequate payment rates and more regulations make the job easier. In recent weeks alone, we’ve seen proposals emerge that would put staffing requirements and new financial disclosure requirements in place. But here’s the thing: Your commitment to providing quality care despite such challenges speaks volumes about your character. You have chosen to persevere in the face of constant adversity. That you have been able to find and demonstrate that ability is indeed something to be grateful for.

And don’t forget, not everyone is given the chance to make a difference. You get to be a real hero — ensuring that the oldest and frailest among us receive the care and attention they deserve. It’s a tough gig on the best days. But the smiles you help bring to the faces of your residents in their time of need are truly priceless.

So, as you prepare to carve the Thanksgiving turkey, remember to carve out a moment for gratitude. Despite the challenges, your role is indispensable. And your commitment is changing lives. Here’s to you, and here’s to the immeasurable impact you make.

Happy Thanksgiving!

John O’Connor is editorial director for McKnight’s.

Opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News columns are not necessarily those of McKnight’s.