I work with a lot of senior living communities, assisted living, and skilled nursing homes across the US and Canada. I have found that you can feel the difference when you walk into a community that loves and respects every person in the building.

The ripple effect of love is very powerful when the director or administrator or other leaders in the community starts the waves and keep them going with a simple kind word, a genuine compliment, or smile every day. It will surely ripple over into the lives of families and residents over time. In a professional and caring way, his/her love and respect for the staff needs to be felt equally from laundry to nursing to activity director. Listen carefully to each other's needs and concerns and creative ideas. Help people feel appreciated no matter their pay scale. Everyone is in this together!

I can also see residents in these communities starting the ripple effect themselves. When they are caring and see the workers around them doing all they can to help, it is a wonderful thing too. It means a lot when residents are thankful and loving to the people who could be helping them with dressing or bathing or physical therapy. It is a two-way street, but the ripple effect must start somewhere.

Drop the pebble of love in the water, and watch the ripple effect begin. That is true culture change.