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Look, a cardinal!


Life Care Manager, Elizabeth Johnson, RN, is “always looking for the little sparks” in her clients. She believes that finding those little passions that give people a sparkle in their eye or a purpose to get up in the morning are the keys to helping them live life on their terms and improve outcomes. She adds that those little sparks “can create a fire… if you’re careful, that is!”

Elizabeth, who works at Oak Meadows, shared this client story demonstrating how it’s often little sparks that have a lasting effect on a client’s life – even the smallest of gestures, a kind word, sitting with a client and listening or simply putting birdseed in a bird feeder:


“I have new clients in independent living – a married couple – they both have some health issues and support one another. During a visit with them, I was discovering their goals and priorities as part of our Lifesprk ExperienceTM, asking questions that made them think and share, and even brought up their emotions. Many things were addressed during that conversation, and they were lamenting things in which they used to more readily find their self-worth. I explained our Lifesprk Experience model and that the time I was spending with them was to actually get to know them, not just to ask questions regarding their health and then bid them adieu.


As we were finishing, a big, fat cardinal sat on a tree branch outside their first floor apartment front window.  I said – ‘oh, look – shoot, it just flew away.’ – The husband, who used to be a bird watcher, said he was sad to have missed it. He went on to tell me that if he could get his birdfeeder filled, which he usually relied upon his son to do, that there would be many more.


I asked if he had bird seed. Lo and behold, he did. Once I had gone out and filled the feeder with the seed, I came back into their apartment. He had been watching me through the window and rushed to the front door with his walker. I handed his wife the empty bag and he exclaimed ‘this is the Best Thing about today!’


I knew it would be a nice little favor that I could do for someone, but I had no idea the amount of joy it would bring to him. If simply filling a bird feeder was the best thing about last Monday for him, I worry about what his days are actually like. That was the first time I have ever seen this gentleman smile. I knew I created a spark in that one little moment. And I liked it!”


Thank you for sharing your spark, Elizabeth, and for sparking those tenants’ lives. As you noted, it is often the little things that make our lives worth living, and it starts with seeing each individual as a whole person and discovering what ignites the sparks in their lives – including those little sparks.

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