My brother lives in Shanghai, China with his wife and 6-year old son. As COVID-19 unfolded they were lucky to escape the crisis to France in order to live with our parents.
A few weeks later, though, the exact same situation happened in France and in other countries in Europe. He witnessed not once, but twice, the spread of the virus and how quickly it can lead to school closures, food hoarding, panic in communities and finally shelter-in-place orders that result in increased isolation.
I listened to these stories sitting in Washington, D.C., but it was hard for me to process what he was sharing until Washington state and New York became epicenters of this pandemic in the United States. I still find it difficult to understand what is coming next and how best to prepare for it, but I remain hopeful.
There will be an end to this situation, other countries who experienced the outbreak first are starting to pave their roads to recovery. However, as the virus spread and with each more dramatic step, my brother warned me that people started focusing exclusively on the shorter-term and more immediate needs such as food, shelter and safety.
As a result, I have felt the need to remind myself that we choose how we live through this as with anything else in our lives. We can, as my brother described, focus on the immediate needs of food, shelter and safety or we can decide to think beyond this by nourishing our sense of purpose, integrating with our communities as best we can, and making this mental leap of faith that things will be better.
Reflecting on the lives of our residents and the discussions I’ve had with providers since the beginning of COVID-19, I find that our industry is stepping up to meet this challenge in ways that are breathtaking in their bravery, creativity and resilience. We are gifted with one of the best and most passionate workforces in the world, who love older adults, and we have a real mission to honor and help older adults live with purpose.
Of course, providing basic needs is critical but the real opportunity is for us to decide to nurture the spirit and soul of our older adults and deliver on our promise of supporting their sense of purpose. This is what resident engagement is about, and this is the key to transform our industry through this crisis.
I believe we as an industry will overcome this by consciously deciding our fate by simply focusing on serving our older adults so they can live with purpose. To do this, we need to keep our cool and manage the basics, celebrate our staff and make them successful, we need to control our future and engage our residents, we need to make #ActivitiesStrong. We are #ActivitiesStrong.
Charles de Vilmorin is the CEO and co-founder of Linked Senior.