“A Glass of Water Philosophy” . . . What?


As a Methodist minister in the 1950’s my grandfather, along with my grandmother Rauls, set out on a mission to help retirees find housing and healthcare under one roof. During that time, right in little ole Macon, Georgia, their mission and prayers sparked a revolution to build the first modern day congregate living facility for seniors. It was not the most profitable new venture, but they made it work.

Legacy: Then and Now

Witnessing residents and families properly cared for were their rewards! My grandparents have both passed and I know in my heart they are proud of their two sons and grandchildren for carrying the torch forward in the fast paced evolution of today’s senior housing. How we understand our residents’ needs is the most important thing we can do.

“A Glass of Water Philosophy” . . . What?

I would like to share with you an idea about understanding needs and one of the most pivotal parts of my personal philosophy about caring for Seniors/Retirees –


It’s a self-taught and nurtured philosophy that relies on perception and the uniqueness of an individual or group. The thesis is based on profiling the most likely needs based on how I would want to be cared for.

My Example:Let’s Go Water Skiing

5581426_sHere is a simple example of how the process works for me: I have been around boats my whole life and have enjoyed water skiing with friends and for me it works like this: First I profile who’s going skiing by using obvious biological, sociological and psychological factors. Then, in my mind, I go through a process of elimination determining the 5 biggest possible factors to be aware of on the day of the trip. For example, if it’s going to be 105 degrees then that’s how I base my mental plan while assuming my friends will be 50 percent prepared. It’s my boat so I feel responsible for them: First: I make sure the Bimini top is on the Bayliner to provide shade. Second: I prepare a cooler with enough ice, Gatorade and water for everyone. Third: I bring a good selection of sun block to share. Forth: I have several light color hats/shirts available for cover ups. Fifth: I have a fan that circulates the air (something I made that runs off the boat motor). I study all of the variables and, if I follow my plan, it greatly reduces the chances of my guests over-heating, making for a more successful skiing trip.

Changing Perceptions and Gaining Ground

One variable in the skiing example that is important for you to know is my friends already perceive me as responsible because of past trip experiences. Now that I have your attention and have given you this example (hopefully you’re not too confused) let’s switch gears to senior living. As in my example, there are certain retirement communities in each area that are known for being extra responsible, particularly in the area of providing superior staff training. It follows that this well trained staff is better prepared to provide excellent care and perceive residents’ needs. Where it gets really interesting is when the same methods and processes I use getting ready for water skiing are applied to a senior living community. It means that I take a look at my seniors, families and staff, then ask myself,  “What are the five factors I need to think about today?”. And, yes, I know water skiing and seniors are a strange comparison. (Maybe my next article will be about seniors who water ski??) Tune in next week for Part II. Don’t forget to drink “Glass of Water” to stay hydrated. Thank you everyone for the personal emails, phone calls and the hand written notes. They truly warm my heart. Have a Blessed Week. John [email protected] If you like this article (or even if you don’t) it would be a great honor to have you subscribe to our mailing list HERE