Celebration of Love

TZMO USA Inc. - SeniSubmitted by Suzi Fox
Regional Sales Manager
TZMO USA Inc. – Seni

Valentine’s Day has historically been a day for couples to share loving cards, a romantic dinner, or gifts that convey their passion and appreciation for one another. Commercially it’s the first holiday after New Year’s when the retail industry can cash in on pallets of chocolate, heart laden greeting cards and an assortment of cupcakes and cookies.

It may also be a lonely time for single people and a chaotic holiday for moms with children who need to bring 36 valentine cards to school for every classmate!

Maybe We Should Rethink this “Celebration of Love”

When I think of love, I think of people who know how to share the important aspects of life. I think of people like Ramona.

Ramona excelled at engagement with others! She knew how to be present with the person in front of her. Her children dreaded grocery store trips because she was always greeting others she knew from the community. Her conversations extended the shopping experience longer than her children felt necessary.

Ramona asked folks questions about their life, their work, their family. Other times she extended a friendly face in a crowd where she knew no one! She invested her time and attention to get to know the person next to her.

She made them feel seen.

She made them feel important.

She always brought out their best features by commenting on their smiles, accomplishments, or the beauty of their family member nearby. As time went on, Ramona became their best friend! Not because they knew much about her, but because she cared enough to learn about them.

What is Love?

Love is Giving Attention to Others

There are lessons about love we can learn from the lives of people. Ramona reminds us that one element of love is giving attention to others. It’s a gift really; the gift of being present.

People remember how you make them feel! When we pay attention to how we make someone feel, we impact their life, whether it’s just for a brief moment of time or for decades.

Love is the Gift of Time

TZMO USA Inc. - SeniTZMO USA Inc. - SeniTZMO USA Inc. - SeniRamona valued life and seemed to have a keen sense of how quickly relationships can suffer if not given time to be nurtured. She would not only reach out to adults, but she knew how to make children feel welcome in her home.

When the pre-teen girls in the neighborhood started to have relationship wars, Ramona would step in and invite all the disgruntled kids to the house for a “Coke Party.”

Now keep in mind that no one knew what a “Coke Party” was back in the late 60’s, so they showed up out of sheer curiosity! Ramona knew that if she could gather enemies in one room with popcorn, Coca-Cola, and a record player, that they would soon let their differences fall to the ground as they giggled and swooned over their favorite bands!

Ramona was a peacemaker, and she knew that people sometimes needed time to be brought together to dance out their differences.

She also had the wisdom to know that young love didn’t always go the distance. You can imagine the horror of her daughter when she found out that her old boyfriends from junior high and high school stayed friends with her mom long after the break-ups! Those young men came by the house to hang out with Ramona because they knew she still cared about them as people even though the romance with her daughter had ended.

The lesson here:

Love is Person Centered

Sometimes people create routines because they have a particular goal in mind. One of Ramona’s habits was that she never parked her car in the garage even when she could. She wanted people to know she was home.

That worked out well for her because throughout the decades, people would just stop by her house, and come in for coffee & conversation. Their first words were usually “I hope it’s OK that I stopped by, I saw your car in the driveway”.

Mission accomplished! That is exactly the culture she created. She wanted people to know that she was there for them.

Love is Being Available

Some of these people became best friends with Ramona. Her teenagers saw it differently. It kind of made them crazy to wake up on a Saturday morning, go downstairs to the kitchen and find Ramona’s friends sitting, having coffee & pastries, and Ramona wasn’t even home!

She always had a pot of hot coffee available for occasions like this. People knew they could come in and make themselves comfortable because that’s how Ramona made them feel. She welcomed them into her life, embraced them through their difficult times, and they always had a place at her table.

People left her home feeling encouraged and inspired!

Still the Same

Ramona is in her late eighties now and I think of her all the time. When we talk, her conversation is still focused on the other person. She probably has a lot to grumble about, but she never complains.

Ramona resides in a Memory Care unit of a senior living community, and even though her son and his family visit her regularly, it’s the health care professionals that see her on a daily basis. The last time I saw her she was thanking them for all that they do. She was asking about their work, their health, and their families.

I hope these community caregivers realize that they have a jewel of a woman in their presence. While they make their rounds, I wonder if they are giving her the time and attention that she deserves.

My hope is that these caregivers are also providing a person-centered approach to care. I know with that approach; it will show in their attitude and show in their care. Ramona will feel their love.

My hope too is that Ramona’s community, as well as all senior living communities, are utilizing high quality products and services to accommodate their residents’ daily needs.

Unintended Consequences

Sometimes communities unintentionally get caught up with looking at lower costs related to products and services being purchased, versus thinking about overall value for their residents. Quality matters to elders and not only do they notice, but the families of loved ones notice too.  If the mind and memory of a senior is fragile, that doesn’t mean they can’t sense the love, or lack of love, in a room.

For example, if a lower cost adult brief is placed on an incontinent resident, negative clinical outcomes such as urinary tract infections and/or skin breakdowns may result.  Everyone involved in the care of the resident notices when this happens.

On the flip side, using soft, fully breathable, super absorbent briefs and pullups that have inner leak guards produce favorable outcomes! These positive results are clinically and socially beneficial for residents.

Value vs. Cost

TZMO USA Inc. - SeniHigh-quality products may cost a few pennies more at the unit level when being compared to inferior products, but the overall value to residents is the mainstay of what should be considered when evaluating products and services.

When seniors are at a critical stage and are completely dependent upon those caring for them, the little things and the big things matter.

  • The care we provide matters.
  • The products we use matter.
  • Skin care lotions, disposable washcloths, and high-quality incontinence products that allow residents to sleep uninterrupted through the night matter.
  • A caregivers’ knowledge about correct product style, size, and absorbency level matters too.
  • It all matters!

All are critical components when we choose to provide high quality care for incontinent residents.

When coming from a place of love, it’s compassion that dictates healthier choices for providing high quality care. The precious faces that sit before us in assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, or hospice are not just residents, clients, or patients.  They are someone’s mother, brother, sister, father, friend.

They have impacted others throughout their lives, and probably made positive impacts in this world far beyond what we will ever know.  The best way to honor elders is to provide extraordinarily high-quality care, respect, and show them love!

TZMO USA Inc. - SeniSuzi Fox
TZMO USA Inc. – Seni

Suzi Fox is a Regional Sales Manager for Seni. She and Seni help people to live healthier, happier lifestyles with less worry.

She believes dignity and confidence are two of the most important gifts we can give to others.

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