It’s been nearly a year since grandma fell out of her bed in the middle of the night and broke her arm. At 89 years old, that one injury changed her life forever. After her immediate stay in the hospital, she transitioned to the Dubuque Nursing & Rehab Center and stayed there for a few months. Although her arm grew stronger, she struggled in other areas and it was decided that it be best that she no longer live alone. Grandma now lives across the river with my uncle and aunt in the land of beer and cheese.
I met with Nancy from Home Instead Senior Care today. She asked if we could get together to talk about how Resources Unite could help them and the Red Cross work together on serving senior citizens in our community. I never heard of Home Instead Senior Care before. Nancy talked about the work they do and how they help seniors stay in their home. I couldn’t help but think of grandma. Where were they when my grandma needed them before the fall? Why didn’t we know about all of the great care they provide to people struggling with Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
The truth is, they’ve been here for 20 years.
This is why we originally started Resources Unite! We knew people were struggling with reaching the more than 500 service providers in our community. There wasn’t a centralized location online to learn of all the help out there. To date, there are 21 different services for senior citizens in our directory. We know there are probably another 21 missing. (Home Instead was added today)
But the real reason for today’s meeting was to talk about collaboration. Nancy was asking for our help with reaching the Grandma Lou’s of our community, but what she desperately needed was a better, more effective way to communicate with other like minded providers. She knows they can’t do everything for everybody at Home Instead. But she also knows that if organizations were communicating more and sharing resources, people would be experiencing a better way of life. At one point in our meeting, Nancy leaned toward me with excitement in her eyes and imagined aloud a different reality. Her speech raced as she hoped for one day having the opportunity to share the needs of the people she serves in our community with other senior citizen providers. And to maybe…just maybe then create meaningful partnerships with community members and businesses for the purpose of supporting seniors when the traditional “providers” can do no more.
I left that meeting feeling buzzed. Everything was moving a little slower and some things became clearer than ever before about our work. I was seeing the potential we have as a community unfold before my eyes.
We need to think differently. The days of operating in silos are gone. It doesn’t work. We have to let go of the fear that can consume us at times and trust one another. We owe it to ourselves, the people we serve and to the community that we want to realize.
Resources Unite is more than the name of our organization. It’s a call to action.