I am a Community Relations Director in an independent retirement community in Florence, Oregon. A very anxious family came to me looking for a place for their mother. Their mother’s experience in her last housing situation had left her feeling disrespected and devalued as a contributing elder citizen. The family was cautiously and with skepticism helping their mother make a significant move to another city.
They expressed amazement at how simple the transition had been, and how open and loving the other elders and team members had been with them and their mother. I invited them to stay for dinner that night and they were surprised at the offer. They declined, so I brought them some coffee and water to relax and refresh after the long drive.
It was interesting to me that such small acts of kindness were received with awe and gratitude. Small things meant so much to them such as:
- Walking into the community and team members introducing themselves, saying hello.
- Team members coming up to the family to reassure them that their mom is doing great and telling a story they heard from her.
- The invitation to the family to join the community residents for the ice cream social.
It not only made this very anxious family and our new resident feel good; I noticed that it made all of us feel good too!
Research reveals that doing good deeds, or kind acts, for others can make anxious people feel better. For four weeks, the University of British Columbia researchers assigned people with high levels of anxiety to do kind acts for other people at least six times a week. The acts of kindness included things like:
- Holding the door open for someone.
- Doing chores for other people.
- Donating to charity.
- Buying lunch for a friend.
The researchers found that doing nice things for people led to a significant increase in positive moods and an increase in warm and caring relationships.
According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create an emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardio-protective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.
So acts of kindness not only benefit those to whom we show kindness, but it is good for our health too!
Amelia Earhart said, “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” We have a whole grove of kindness growing here at Shorewood!
Guest author Belinda Shores, Community Relations Director at Shorewood Senior Living in Florence Oregon.
I never thought I could love a job so much! To be able to come to work and put to use all of my favorite ideas every day is a joy! It is the longing of everyone to be able to make a difference, and I know I do. Florence is a small town, and in my role I have the opportunity to create connections with businesses and causes in the community. I am honored to welcome and nurture relationships with families and elders who choose the Oregon Coast as their retirement dream place to live. My husband and I have lived in Florence for five years, where we love nature walks, strolls on the beach, boating and kayaking. On the rainy days, we love to cozy up with a good book. Life is good!