A Little Appreciation Can Go a Long Way

By Michael E. McRae
President & CEO, St. Ann’s Community
November 16th, 2022

If I were an electric car, say a Tesla, how far could I get before my battery needed charging? Well, if my battery ran on energy from the elders of St. Ann’s Community, I could make a cross-country trip on a single charge.

The joy I get from our elders—their stories, their embraces, their everyday kindness—is what makes it easy for me to get out of bed in the morning. It makes every day rewarding. And I know I’m not alone – many among our staff also feel that way. There’s something intangible those of us in senior care get from interacting with our elders and their families, something that makes the job about more than just a paycheck.

At our recent Veterans Day ceremony, for example, I was honored to sign the certificates presented to our resident veterans—a small gesture of thanks for the huge sacrifice they made for our country. Afterward, the wife of one of the veterans thanked me for taking the time to honor her husband. She noted that it was my actual signature (not an electronic one) on the certificate and how much that personal touch meant to them. This family member was appreciating me for what I did in appreciation for her loved one! You don’t get that in every line of work.

Another example, this one from our Leo Center for Caring: after losing her mother at the end of a difficult hospice journey, a daughter made a point of telling me about the wonderful care the staff provided her mother. This person was going through one of the most emotional, most heartbreaking things a person can go through, yet she needed me to know how great her mother’s care team was. Not many things in life are more gratifying than that.

As CEO, I know how caring and compassionate St. Ann’s employees are; I see it every day. But when someone else tells me so, it warms my heart. They’re saying that our team makes a difference and plays an important role in their lives, even during some of the most difficult times.

I’m thankful for those moments. And I encourage each of us to take a moment now and then to tell someone else how much they’re appreciated. You’ll find it gives you both the charge to go the extra mile, and then some.


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