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Five Life Lessons Learned at a Skilled Nursing Facility

Jan 07, 2019
Five Life Lessons Learned at a Skilled Nursing Facility

Have you experienced a moment professionally when your heart filled with thankfulness and you thought… “I get paid to do this for a living”?

For many who serve in careers where others depend on your availability with 24/7 responsibilities, it’s easy to think the opposite… “I do this for what I get paid?”.

The reality… a life committed to serving others is a blessing and financial compensation, although important, is not everything. I’m reminded of this fact every Friday morning at 10:00 AM when leading Bible Study for the residents living at the skilled nursing facility where I serve as the Executive Director.

The Why

This week, I found myself in awe as we submerged ourselves collectively in study. A room filled with diversity of age starting with the youngest, our Activities Assistant, to our most senior resident at age 90. Moreover, diversity of race, hometowns, careers, and most importantly…. life experiences. The greatest reward is the commonality of faith and the unity of truth that we share in belief. For one hour we can transport ourselves from our earthly body, clinical complexities, and life circumstances to rest on the shores of our faith.

Wait! Please don’t stop reading or get turned off by the mention of faith. I hesitate in posting faith-based content; however, that would hinder sharing five life lessons that you may find significant. One can only imagine the wealth of insight our community would gather, if we had greater diversities of faith amongst our residents which met every week to grow and develop.

The Lessons Learned

  1. You always have a choice!
    I had the privilege of delivering the Keynote Address to the Alternative High School Graduation of Perry Township of Indiana. For speaking events, I always share the details with the group and ask them to cover me in prayer. On this day, Mrs. A. said “make sure the graduates know…. they always have a choice”. I asked her to elaborate. She shared, “with every obstacle life offers… you have a decision and a choice to make”.


  2. How will the world know how special you are, if you are unable to communicate?
    As a parent of three, it’s not uncommon to voice my parenting frustrations with the group. On this day, my timeless frustration was regarding effort with schoolwork and particularly Language Arts. Mrs. A shares, tell your child “The world will not know how special they are, if they are unwilling or unable to communicate. We all will miss out on their gift”.


  3. Take Action… It Conquers Fear!
    As a speaker, I teach leaders and organizations how to Confront, Compete, and Conquer when adversity strikes as opposed to being victimized by the event. Confront the reality, look it in the eye and make a choice. Compete by getting engaged and taking action. Conquer by making progress with every action. This background is important, so you understand the significance of this next lesson. As a group, we are discussing fear and its ability to paralyze us as humans. The thought… fear is a sin if you give it more power than it deserves. Mrs. A states “Action Conquers Fear. It makes you move forward”. WOW, just like that … a revered elder and my sister provided a confirmation that I was headed in the right direction with a message that I believe to my core. I wept with thankfulness inside my soul.


  4. When Called to Do Something… Do it at the highest level?
    In my experience as a facility administrator, the top two complaints are typically the call light response time and concerns with meal options. As a person challenged by a gut disorder that can cause urgency with restroom breaks and a person who enjoys eating…. I get it. Mr. R is living at the facility short term as he rehabilitates after a hip surgery. This is his first time attending our study; however, he has led a Bible Study for over thirty years. We were discussing areas in our life that we want to “die” so that we can live more like Christ. He identified “anger” and elaborated the feeling he has when the call light response is delayed. Basically, In need of help and tired of waiting. Side note, I get real time insight on grievance identification, another benefit of leading the group. Mr. R states…. whenever you are called to work, you should always do it at the highest level for that is what Christ expects.



  5. This world is more unified than we may think!
    Every Week I am reminded of this fact when I see a modern-day miracle. For instance, I am an African American male who grew up on the southside of Chicago. Every other member of our study is Caucasian and for the most part grew up in Indiana. We normally have three men, including myself, and the rest are ladies. One resident grew up in Kentucky and shares his experience cutting lumber logs. Another grew up in Tennessee. We can go on. What brings us all together is built upon love. Love transcends any earthly divider. I believe if we had residents of other faiths who wished to attend our study, they would be welcomed without judgment, with love and respect for differing opinions. It’s so encouraging to look at a revered elder as your equal despite the years that separate us all.
    The miracle is the unification and joy we feel for each other. Our love for Christ has brought us together and nothing can compromise that fact.

Jerald Cosey, HFA. is the Executive Director of Greenwood Meadows operated by American Senior Communities A Skilled Nursing Facility serving 166 residents on the southside of the Indianapolis, IN.

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