The holidays are behind us. I see the trail of pine needles on the neighbor’s driveway and I know the last of the Christmas trees are sitting at the curb this week. Yup, that’s it for another year. Now the resolutions are the only thing left, and for most of us they’re still fresh.
Like most of you, I keep saying to myself it’s going to be different this year. A little less processed food that I know isn’t good for me. Maybe a few more productive hours a month in the gym. Definitely more time with the family and less time at work. We all want to make it a better 2015 and can only hope that by July we’ll be on track to fulfilling those well-intended resolutions.
We have so many reasons to be thankful. Living in a close-knit community like Webster, we experience the positive outcomes of neighbors helping neighbors every day. I think active involvement in the community – both as a contributor and as a beneficiary – is something to be especially thankful for this year.
Thankful for Those that Serve Others
The generosity of our volunteers, many of whom live right here in Webster, is just one example of how our community comes together to assist those in need. Our volunteers come to Maplewood with their wealth of abilities and selflessly give of these gifts without expectation for recognition. Our volunteers range from teenagers on up to grandparents, and they all contribute their time and talents in the most gracious and humbling ways. We thank you.
On September 16 it was our pleasure to welcome Assemblyman Brian Kolb to The Maplewood. Mr. Kolb is the leader of the Republican party in the New York State Assembly. I was gratified when I received the call from Leader Kolb’s Albany office requesting a visit to our facility. We learned that Assemblyman Kolb is spending a lot of time over these months, while the Assembly is not in session, visiting businesses and community leaders in his home district and all over the state.
Above: The Crystal Room, as it appeared before the start of August, 2014 renovations.
It was 2002 when we completed the addition to The Maplewood that doubled the footprint of the building and gave us a new rear entrance and large gathering space as you walk into the building. Over time our residents, families and employees began to refer to this area as the Crystal Room. The name stuck and now when you mention it, everyone knows exactly what you are talking about.
In a recent DemocratAndChronicle.com article, Erin Howe, DNP at Canandaigua’s M.M. Ewing Continuing Care Center and an assistant professor of clinical nursing at the University of Rochester, expressed her praise for the committed and selfless work of long-term care nurses and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). These caregivers provide their services in a long-term care industry that is coming under increasing pressure due to countless regulations, scarcity of resources and tight payment structures. Erin cites such things as staffing shortages, diminished compensation and reduced quality of work life leading to increased job dissatisfaction, fatigue and burnout.
When I scan the horizon of senior care I see similar trends. Erin’s right – changes are indeed happening in our industry that are affecting the lives of countless professional caregivers.
It was about three years ago that nursing and rehabilitation facilities began to run into a new and strange situation that related to the Medicare population coming to these facilities seeking rehabilitation or skilled nursing care after a hospital stay. No one had ever heard of the term “observation status” before. It wasn’t long before the term became commonplace and despised. Facilities quickly came up to speed as they painfully learned about this new practice of hospital patients not being admitted as inpatients, even if the patient remained in-hospital for an extended period of time.
I was trudging out the door the other morning in blizzard conditions to get the newspaper. As I got to the end of our long driveway, I looked into the paper tube below the mailbox and quickly discovered that the paper had not been delivered yet. 8:30am, and no paper. Are you kidding me?!? I looked a driveway over and my neighbor was making his way down to get his as well. We talked about what to do and he said he was going to call the office and lodge a complaint. I told him to give it a minute and see if the guy would show. Being an old paperboy, I knew what that office complaint would mean to the carrier. Sure enough, a minute later the guy barreled up in a car full of papers, rolled down the window and threw us each a paper. Not a word was spoken and as the guy took off he left my neighbor and I in a cloud of black car exhaust smoke. My neighbor was not happy and left me with an impression that he was going to do anything to make sure we got a new paper delivery person.
Ever since the movie “Pay it Forward” made its impact back in the early 2000s, so many (including myself) have been attracted to the concept of taking what’s given to us and re-presenting that generosity in ways that benefit the lives of others. It was my privilege to witness this play out at The Maplewood a few days before Christmas.
Whether you’re talking about “Obamacare” and the Affordable Care Act, the stock market, college costs or the future of Medicare and Medicaid it seems like everyone is on edge about what might happen.
The latest saga involved the government getting shut down and then a bunch of talk about a debt ceiling which had the combined effect of frightening people to death. Employers are on edge, employees are on edge, the market is on edge, and the general public is just upset about all the rhetoric coming out of Washington. We wonder about funding our retirement in a stock market that seems to rely on the media daily for direction, and as a result we see a continuous roller coaster ride where 300 point swings in one day are not unusual.
Today’s world of instant communications has allowed us to do amazing things. Software and hardware have progressed far beyond what most of us could have even imagined 10 years ago. We stop at the gas station on the way to work and wave a small key fob at the gas pump and it turns on. While we pump our gas the pump talks to us and shows us enticing images that are geared to lure us into the mini-market and buy a pizza, bottle of Pepsi or 12 pack of beer. Simply amazing. What we don't see is all the agonizing steps that went into that front-end technology and the hard work that continues to go on behind the scenes that allows the proper payments to get deducted from your debit card and/or the billing that seems to magically happen to your gas credit card. You know that there has been a lot of signing of contracts and negotiating fees and payments to various vendors that make this all happen. It is really all in the details.