My name is Gina Marie Sproule. I am a retired elementary school teacher. In that profession I was teacher of the year in both Arizona and New Mexico. It was a career that was as rewarding as it was challenging. I loved the puzzle of it all, solving the problems and difficulties of my students and teaching them to solve and overcome their weaknesses turning them into strengths. Each student I ever taught will always be ‘my student’. Upon leaving that career I entered the assisted-living world. I was presented the opportunity to become the director of two assisted living homes, and then the C.O.O. of our company. A dream and a vision was shared with me about how the elderly should be treated and honored in this last phase of life. That GoodLife way of honoring all life and helping families in crisis and finding beauty and peace was a vision I could stand for.
They are the same, these careers. In my roles both as Director of a home and as C.O.O of GoodLife, I find joy in the small successes. I hold the hand of a resident who is leaving this life for the next. I am there as many take their last breath, comforting them, honoring them, celebrating their journey. I make this topsey-turvey world of dementia feel manageable for the wife who is watching her husband slip away piece by piece. I help the daughter watch her mother as that daughter mourns the loss of each skill lost from her mother’s decline in health and mental ability. I help family after family even when they can’t afford us, but don’t know where to turn. To both my managers and our families, I teach the big picture and the process to help families navigate this new normal. I help my managers navigate through their roles in their homes making our mission a tangible manifestation of our vision of what Assisted Living and Memory Care should be, the GoodLife Way. I do not have an office or corporate location because I am in the homes. This is not an office job, this is a hands on mission.
A nurse once asked me if I knew how many residents I’ve lost. I looked at her puzzled responding “of course”. She shrugged saying, ” strange I don’t keep count”. I replied, “Keep count? They changed who I am. I know their names!”
Why? Each of my residents and their families becomes ‘mine’. Each of my managers become ‘mine’. They deserve all I can give. This vision of the GoodLife way is worth fighting for and working tirelessly for. Our residents and their families deserve this; I do this for them. I see tangible evidence of the GoodLife vision every day in the actions of direct care staff. I see it in the accountability our managers hold their staff to, and the relationships our managers have with their families and their staff. I see tangible evidence of this vision in the actions of and support given by our our CEO, Dallen Skelley and in our owners, Larry and Donene Skelley. We show love through service and in doing so, honor the lives of our elders. I love this job. It is draining, taxing, and wears you out. This is the most rewarding thing I’ve every done. I make a difference every day and that matters. The GoodLife way is one worth protecting and fighting for.