LeadingAge set a comforting tone at its recent conference in Denver. In keynote speeches, there was a focus on self-care and the need to recharge after the very trying events related to COVID-19 and the subsequent staffing shortage of the past many months. President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan and Board of Directors Chair Mike King used words like “restorative,” “colleagueship,” “bonding” and “connection.”

In other words, the conference was an opportunity for folks in long-term care to breathe a collective sigh, reflect on the past and pat themselves on the back for what they have overcome during this period. King may have said it best during the first address of the conference on Monday: “We have been through everything, absolutely everything,” he said.

I think the folks at LeadingAge have it right. If ever there was a moment to take a step back and embrace (literally and figuratively) yourselves and your colleagues, it’s now. Despite the work that needs to be done, the people who need to be hired, the patients who need to be cared for, it’s time to celebrate. (And you don’t have to feel bad about that. A wonderful speaker at LeadingAge, Jamil Zaki, professor of psychology at Stanford University, talked about how empathy is good but too much of it can be detrimental.)

I offer one way to lift your spirits: Nominate a colleague for a McKnight’s Pinnacle Award. This new awards contest from McKnight’s three brands honors industry veterans who have been in the field — home care, long-term care and senior living — for at least 20 years.

The program offers multiple awards across several tracks:

Home care/home health/hospice — for-profit and nonprofit

Senior living (independent living, assisted living, memory care and/or continuing care retirement/life plan community) — for-profit

Senior living (independent living, assisted living, memory care and/or continuing care retirement/life plan community) — nonprofit

Skilled nursing — for-profit

Skilled nursing — nonprofit

Here are the awards categories:

Setting the Standard Award

Agent of Change Award

Inspiration Award

Thought Leader Award

Unsung Hero Award

The final deadline for submitting nominations is next Thursday, Oct. 27. Doing something nice for someone else actually may help to energize you. What could be more important?

Liza Berger is editor of McKnight’s Home Care. Email her at [email protected].