By Steve Moran

Dr. Bill Thomas kicked off the first session of Evolve 2021, where we are reimagining life enrichment. He talked about how life enrichment leaders are, or at least have the ability to be, “meaning makers” for the residents they serve.

Human beings appear to be the only beings on the planet that have the capacity/ability to create meaning out of elements of our lives. Meaning is very individual, one person can look out a window at a fresh snowfall and feel great contentment and peace and another person can see cold, misery, and sidewalks to be shoveled.

A Sacred Honor

Each of us has the ability to create meaning for others or destroy it and each of us has done both at some point in our lives. Life enrichment leaders live at the intersection of creating or destroying meaning in the lives of residents. When at their best they are “Meaning Makers”.

The Heartbreak

The heartbreak is that too many senior living organizations don’t see Meaning Makers and instead see life enrichment as a necessity that costs money and does not directly make the organization money. This means they are paid poorly and have little or no real stake in the leadership of the community. They mostly fight for meager budgets.

When this happens these “meaning makers” are ineffective, or they even end up being meaning killers, because leadership has stripped all the meaning from what they do. An honest look at how meaning makers feel, way too many would tell you this is their reality.

And Yet

And yet, what would happen in your community if your “life enrichment” leader was instead the “head meaning maker”? How would they approach their job? How would they interact with residents? What role would they play in the community leadership team?

My Dream

My dream is that every resident in your community has meaningful moments every single day of their life. That they love life even as their capacities diminish. And that this happens because your resident “Meaning Maker” creates the opportunity for this to happen.

When this happens your community will be full, your residents will be happier, live longer, and demand less. You will also create more meaning for your team members.

How about it?

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