Senior Living Workers are Heroes in Every Way

By Lawrence D. Carlson, President & CEO, United Methodist Communities

During COVID-19, we have seen videos of essential workers getting well-deserved praise for their lifesaving work. While I too applaud the doctors and hospital workers, other heroes on the frontlines also deserve our praise and attention.

I urge you to express gratitude for the “unsung heroes” of this pandemic: continuing care retirement communities, senior living, rehabilitation, and nursing home associates. Chances are, an older adult in your life lives in a long-term care environment — a parent, grandparent, or other relative. Skilled nursing teams, directors, housekeeping staff and food service personnel in these settings are being pushed to their limits.

With over 40 years’ experience in this industry and as the leader of United Methodist Communities’ pandemic response, I am confident that the health, well-being and safety of residents and associates everywhere remains paramount. Yet, much of the news surrounding senior living communities has been critical.

Our associates are heroes on the frontlines, who deserve kudos for their sense of duty, bravery, commitment, and determination — all while balancing their own families. Their character and resiliency are being tested like never before.

Now more than ever, caretakers are being entrusted to protect lives during this exceptionally difficult time. And, all the while, residents rightfully expect unwavering, high-quality and compassionate care.

In the best of times, senior-living employees face unique challenges. They focus on a vulnerable population requiring care and attention 24/7. In addition to an average age of 89-years, many residents have dementia, underlying health conditions, co-morbidities, and mobility issues.

I urge you to take a more than a moment to acknowledge the exceptional work senior-care workers are doing. Many are your friends and your neighbors. Others are complete strangers caring for other’s loved ones. Facing complete uncertainty, they continue to sacrifice and show up. They are heroes in every way.