How Our Company Values Came into Play During Hurricane María
At Insignia Senior Living, our mission is to provide safe and joyful environments where seniors feel loved and valued. We pride ourselves on our culture, and work hard every day to ensure that our team is reflecting our company’s values in everything they do. On September 20th, Puerto Rico was hit with one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in its history, Hurricane Maria. Our three communities in the island, Miramar Living, Residence, and Villa Serena, were subjected to a Category 4 Hurricane.
Unlike in Georgia, where we can drive our residents to shelter in other cities, there is nowhere to evacuate to when you live in an island. While some senior homes in the area didn’t feel confident that they could take on the challenge of keeping their seniors safe during the storm, we believed that moving our residents to lesser prepared buildings was not an option. We would do whatever it took to protect them in their own homes. We needed to do everything in our power to care for our residents, and our team went above and beyond to let our values shine through in the work they did during the hurricane. Here’s how:
Integrity: Our team took on the very serious challenge of facing the storm with us. Though they could have put themselves first and protected their own homes, our residents were their priority. Our executive team, including our owners, moved into the community with the most residents to help during the hurricane, and our associates worked for 5 days in a row, sleeping in extra bedrooms, because caring for our seniors was that important to them. Additionally, knowing that nearby senior homes had not been able to keep their residents during the storm, the day before we took on 13 new residents for shelter. Some of them are still living with us today.
Efficiency: When power, water, food and gas are limited, we must exhaust every resource. Wasting supplies is not an option, but limiting the quality of life of our residents isn’t one either. That’s why efficiency has been so important. Our team is finding out new ways to cook meals, save electricity and water, and entertain our residents, as typical resources are scarce in the island and we must make the best of what we have at our disposal.
Confidentiality: Despite having to make adjustments to many of our processes, residents’ records and personal information were never divulged and remain private in the aftermath of the storm.
Action Oriented: At 5:30 a.m., when the storm was at its peak, the ceiling of the 3rd floor living room collapsed. At that moment, the executive team decided that they needed to evacuate the 68 residents away from their rooms and to a hallway with no windows. They acted quickly, moving everyone to safety hand in hand. The elevator wasn’t safe, so residents who weren’t able to walk had to be carried down the stairs. It wasn’t easy, but getting everyone to safety quickly was the #1 priority.
Participative Communication: Power, phone reception and internet are rare to find. Communications are slowly improving but there are still many locals who haven’t heard from their loved ones after the storm. Still, our team is doing all they can to communicate and let us know how they are faring.In the past, a simple phone call or text message would suffice to get in touch with someone. Now, we must drive to find reception, or walk up and down several flights of stairs to find someone. But because everyone knows the importance of communication for proper senior care, they do whatever it takes. This is commendable.
Production of Happiness: Our Life Enrichment Directors are hosting bingo, movie afternoons and other fun activities in order to keep things flowing as they usually do in all our communities. Meals are being served in the dining rooms, music is being played, and residents are keeping to their usual daily routines as closely as possible. Additionally, our associates, executives and owners, many of whom have lost so much in the storm, are doing all they can to provide A Smile at Every Touch Point™.
Demonstration of Passion: Even though water, food, power and gas are currently hard to find, and many of our associates live far away, our team is showing up to work to care for our seniors. Many are coming with their children, grandchildren and even pets, because they have nowhere else to take them. We have habilitated bedrooms for our caregivers to sleep in so that they don’t have to waste gas and our residents can have the care that they need. This has all been done with joy and commitment, and it’s clear that our associates love what they do.
Our communities are stronger than ever. Family members, residents, associates, our executive team and our owners have come together to make the best out of a tricky situation. We truly believe this is because everyone associated with Insignia understands and treasures our values.
Though Insignia’s residences are doing well, Puerto Rico still needs help. If you would like to find out how to help, please click here.