Can Residents Still Have A Purpose?

Can Residents Still Have A Purpose?

The power of purpose.  It gives us strength to handle difficult changes.  It gives us a reason to get out of bed in the morning.  Viktor Frankl once wrote, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

What makes a resident want to get out of bed in the morning? What purpose do they have?  Unfortunately too often in long term care and senior living, we wait on people hand and foot.  We worry about serving people through fantastic customer service instead of supporting them in what is most important: living with a purpose.

Well one of our clients, The Parker at McCarrick Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Home in Somerset, NJ knows how to support their residents.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the one year anniversary celebration of their “Living with a Purpose Club.”  In March of 2015, McCarrick created this club with just eight members.  Now the club has 15 proud members who “desire to make a difference in the lives of others in their community and abroad.”

Welcomed by staff and residents, I took a seat and found a touching program for the ceremony that read:

“Despite their own personal challenges residents gave their time and talents selflessly and purposefully.”

For the next hour I listened to the moving ways that these members had fulfilled their commitment to global volunteerism. I felt inspired; I felt proud; and I felt determined that the work we do at Denise B. Scott makes a difference.

Best of all I recognized that the members of this club are truly living with a purpose!


Erica Rattray St. Jean, Director of Social Services, and co-founder of the club, is a passionate leader who recognizes the importance of person-centered care. Erica (standing) and the club, pictured above, were responsible for raising money for two different US based charities and club members were able to personally present checks directly to the associations.

This same group of spirited people held fundraising parties while promoting cultural awareness from other countries.  They created beautiful candle holders which they sold to raise money to send clothes and school supplies to a school in Kenya.

This beautiful one-year anniversary celebration also included music, a slide show, testimonials, and a reading of a thank you letter from the school in Kenya.

One member shared, “As we sit here in our wheelchairs, we are raising money for those less fortunate than us. We have the ability to help others.”

Perhaps my favorite part of the day was when one member read a poem written by Edward Everett Hale.


This same poem was proudly displayed in the dining room for all to see.  Kudos to the “Living with a Purpose Club” for all the hard work they do!

What can you do to support residents living with a purpose?  How can you honor choices and recognize that it’s a natural desire to want to help others?  This club was established using three guiding principles:

  • Purposeful
  • Selflessness
  • Determination

By focusing on these principles members committed to honoring their self-worth, showing compassion for others, offering a helping hand whenever possible, and making sure that they did not leave any member behind.

The patients, residents and staff surrounding you are full of ideas.  What can do to ensure that those ideas are being encouraged and supported?   Remember, it only takes one to do something. Will you be that one?

This article was written by staff member, Allison Duda


Sign up today to know when we release a new article


Ultimate Recruitment: 65 Ways for Attracting, Onboarding & Keeping the Best

Empower your workforce with 65 tips on attracting, onboarding, and retaining the best talent at your organization. Simply enter your email address and name to claim your free download.