What You See is What You Get, Unless it’s Not

What You See is What You Get, Unless it’s NotThis statement could not be any truer than in today’s “go-go-go” society. We are all so busy running here and there, always with a connected device in our hands, going 90 miles an hour. Sometimes we may not take the time to really understand situations and we make assumptions based on what we see on the surface. Are we paying attention, asking questions, really listening to the answers or are we just hurrying to move on to the next thing? I will admit that I am as guilty as anyone.

It has never been more important in our industry to stop and really evaluate what is going on? What is going on with our prospects, our current residents, with our employees, and/or what is going on with the community’s finances? We must take time to stop and listen, ask questions, and truly understand the stake holders in our organization. It does not take much for one small variable to effect the entire operations of your community. Not to mention if several of them all became just a little out of whack.

One of the funniest stories of misreading a situation in senior living I have ever heard was as follows. There was female resident in a nursing home that began to smuggle food out of the dining room. Every now and then employees saw her putting a muffin in her cloth napkin to take back to her room. This was frowned upon because food in rooms may draw bugs, it may spoil, could be given said food to others with special diets, etc.

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For well over a month all the employees were really watching this lady and it became continuous and more frequent. Just about every meal she would sneak out a muffin or roll in her napkin to take back to her room. Finally the Executive Director (ED) knew he had to confront her to figure out what was going on. He went to her room and while talking with her, was looking around trying to see what she was doing with the contraband food. Was she putting them in a drawer and forgetting about them? Was he going to find a big smelly bug infested mess?

Finally after looking around he saw this morning muffin haul in the trash. Perplexed he finally just came out and asked her about the muffins and what was going on. He explained that he was concerned for her safety and the safety of others with this behavior.

She smiled as she opened up her closet door to show the curious ED. She proceeded to take a hanger off the rack and removed the garment from it.  It turns out she was not smuggling muffins out of the dining room, but merely using them for cover.  She was actually smuggling out the cloth napkins to put over her wire hangers so as not to leave hanger creases in her clothes (men please ask the woman in your life to explain this).

Once the ED got to the bottom of this, they found a more economical way to help the resident accomplish her goal of lining all her wire hangers.

Take the time to really see what is going on at your community. Take the time to really investigate things that don’t seem right.  Take the time to really listen. It’s all our jobs and it will make finding the right solutions much easier.