Like Snowflakes in Summer

Like Snowflakes in Summer

Not one snowflake is like another! As people – none of us are like the other! Celebrate our uniqueness and what this has to offer in the long-term care environment – and in life in general! Lift each other up – rather than looking for personal gain. When we lift another higher than ourselves – we benefit from that with a full heart.

I came to HCH in 2006 with a fundamental thought process that was relatively new at that time. It was about being resident focused and family centered with our care. Many will often hear me say to a family member- “You are the head of our team – you are the essence of how and what we do for your relative/loved one – you are valued and necessary.” I have often said that when ‘we’ admit a new resident to the Manors – we are also admitting their family members and friends. In doing so – we work with all kinds of personalities and needs – as do our residents and families.

Unfortunately I believe our society does not value our seniors with the respect they so deserve. I believe there is a sense of prejudice and apathy where services are directed towards those who can benefit another agency’s bottom line. I know – from working with our seniors – that their value should be undisputed. They raised children – they worked hard – they had some harrowing life experiences – they were generally frugal and happy with less than today’s society is- they shared camaraderie that is not happening in today’s society. They had mountains and valleys – and provided life and legacy to those who are here because of them.

I am so honoured – and so blessed – by hearing their stories. I am so honoured when feelings can be shared that may be too hard to express to someone else. I am so blessed that residents and their families can look towards help within this complex healthcare system. I would not trade this opportunity because it is a priceless and fulfilling purpose.

I love to laugh – firstly at myself- and with those who share a sense of humour about life in general. Life can be hard – let’s face it! Living in long-term care is not easy! Sometimes when we put some humour into life’s challenging circumstances- we feel less stress and more comfort. There is a quote about laughter/humour-“Humour is the affectionate communication of insight.” Know those who will share some laughter and know when it is appropriate, know those who need some comic relief It is well known that I laugh and I cry without too much effort – and benefit from the comfort of these emotions. I love looking at the world through my granddaughters’ eyes – innocence and sassiness at the same time – hugs and tears and smiles – all at the same time – perceptions that could make all adults question where ours have come from and why they have changed so drastically through this voyage we call life.

No two lives share the same goals or pathways. We will experience blizzards where snow blinds our vision. We will know cold that permeates our bones and our souls. We will experience whiteouts where we cannot see past the immediate length of one’s arm. We will experience so much snowfall that we feel contained within small spaces. It is when all of the accumulated snowflakes fall gently on the winter night – silencing fears and enveloping us in quietude – that we experience the glory of our different emotions and our uniqueness. Snowflakes create beauty as they fall on the sills and the tree branches. They will all be configured differently as they fall where they may- just like each of us are unique unto our own personhood.

Then comes birdsong in winter- that wakes us in the morning to a new day! Each bird sings their own song- we just have to listen harder for their sounds in the winter time! Each bird will have a different colour- a different sound – a different habit than the other. How unique can snowflakes and birdsong be?

Each of us must sing our own song! When we can appreciate our differences and maximize that capability as a group of people committed to each other- then we will have achieved a societal success that has been long overdue.

… Enjoy being a snowflake in the summer … and listening to the birds in the winter … it all comes together – as should we – for the better cause of human kind!

Shirl Hutchinson – RSSW-GER