I’m a consummate optimist. I wake up every day with a clean, positive slate. Only opportunity ahead. I make my first cup of coffee and turn on the news, and the reality of the time we are living in hits home with a sledgehammer dose of challenge. Rising above the challenge is for the best. In our Tribute Team conversations, the word “best” comes out constantly. That is our goal and our reward. We are blessed with a leadership team that lives for being the best in every category, the most important of which is resident care and engagement.
To be the best in normal times is simple for our leadership team. In these times that we are enduring, it is a constant struggle.
From my perspective, I see a lot of light and blue sky at the end of a long and far too enduring tunnel. The Covid Pandemic fogs the vision we started with at the beginning of the Tribute journey. Tribute was founded on the simple principle that there had to be a better way. There had to be more to Memory Care than a locked door. There had to be a more complex solution than a one-disease-fits-all diagnosis. There had to be a program that could be created to bridge the aging process and lifestyles between Assisted Living and Memory Care. There had to be better research developed to slow the progression that travels with the aging process.
We built a building unlike any other that focused on natural light and function rather than furnishings. A building that generated anything but an institutional feeling. A campus that drew you outdoors rather than constrained you indoors. A building filled with music and activities and conversation among all who entered. A building for cookouts, fish fry’s, putting contests, and simple porch time. A building with a show kitchen that highlighted food prep and cleanliness that generated great aromas and pride in our menu. The campus was complete.
Since that wonderful opening date, we have been running a race against the aging process that is much like a marathon run thru a swamp. The deep mire of now two years of Covid has slowed our process, but one team at Tribute has risen above it all; our residents. They have steadfastly come to fitness classes, travel nights, music concerts, and put up with my oldies collection of music playing constantly, and they have risen above the weight of the Pandemic in heroic fashion. They are athletes of the heart.
It is now time to prepare for the Blue Sky ahead. This, too, will pass. When it does, we will have challenged our weary but intrepid leadership to be ready with new menus, activities, brain training programs, sensory programs, and new research. We are preparing each with the help of the resident boards, such as the menu board, composed of our residents and culinary leadership, which is already redefining our food program for the coming year. We have been backsliding on our Mediterranean menu during Covid and replacing it with comfort food, but the research says we must return to the Mediterranean menu with cheat days each week. I love cheat days, especially Blue Bell night, but that really isn’t great for my heart or waistline. We will have those in moderation.
Our brain training software is being stepped up in difficulty because several of our residents have maxed out the scoring, which is a really positive problem of progress. The new levels are geared for age 55, and I can’t wait until one of our seventy-five-year-old scholars scores 100%. More stimulation and more challenges are only healthier for our brain athletes. More sensory stimulation is ahead, and more engagement in social activities is on the horizon.
Tribute will continue to evolve, and inevitably, some staff changes will come with it but make no mistake, The Tribute eye is on stemming the tide that washes away minds and bodies. We are steadfast in our mission and will not tire from that goal.
Onward through the swamp! The water is getting shallower, and the sky is getting brighter.