Mary Gober’s Clinic – The 2nd Paycheck
A year ago my family faced a major decision: how to care for my aging and ill mother. Living alone in the family home, far away from us, was no longer possible.
Reluctantly my mother and I agreed that she should move to an Assisted Living Residence in her home state of Florida. Her wonderfully supportive doctor recommended three homes, and we set out to visit them.
You can imagine how carefully I scrutinised them. The one we chose ticked all the boxes – a Sunrise Senior Living community, with Independent Living Apartments and Skilled Nursing Care. I zeroed in on their six Principles of Service:
- Preserving Dignity
- Nurturing the Spirit
- Celebrating Individuality
- Enabling Freedom of Choice
- Encouraging Independence
- Involving Family and Friends
During my first few visits I observed and evaluated, and wondered: are these just laudable intentions or do they really care for their residents in this special way? Do they live these principles?
I now know they do. I have a happier, healthier, more active mother who has re-engaged with life. For the first time in years I feel at ease, confident that her new home and family has restored quality, safety and enjoyment to her life. It’s been an astonishing transition, especially since I live far away in the UK. The telephone calls during the first months smoothed out the few normal teething problems. My mind is at ease.
Why do I tell you this? Because many of our clients engage our services to help encourage their staff to live their values and deliver exceptional service. What I saw at mother’s Sunrise community was just that, and it’s a great example.
In August I made a two-week visit to my mother, staying in one of the Independent Living apartments to be close to her and to experience, first hand, her wonderful new lifestyle. Day after day, without exception, I saw every member of staff living their six principles… even with the most difficult residents and family members.
I was deeply reassured. And on a professional level I was intrigued to find out how they did it. So I asked Mr Larmon, the executive director. I recounted what I’d seen – the hundreds of caring interactions his staff had with my mother, with other residents, their family and friends. I asked him straight out: how does it work?
His answer amazed me. He said he only has team members who need what he called a “2nd paycheck”: the fulfilment, satisfaction and joy that comes from deeply wanting to make a difference. Of course, he said, everyone works for an income, but his team members have this other motivator, a special quality.
These weren’t just nice words. I saw that motivation in action, time and time again. I saw a team living their principles – treating residents with patience, tenderness, respect and dignity, lifting their spirits and encouraging independence. I saw how they extended this warmth to family members and friends.
My mother is the most precious person in the world to me, and it filled me with joy when staff told me, repeatedly, how much they loved her. And they showed it, not because they were being paid to, but because they wanted to – they needed to. The 2nd paycheck.
No wonder Sunrise is so successful. It started in 1981 with a single community, and is now one of the largest global care providers with communities in the UK, US, Canada and Germany.
Do you need that 2nd paycheck? How about your team? Sunrise sets the standard for the rest of us to follow.