LeadingAge Magazine · November-December 2019 • Volume 09 • Number 06

If courage holds primary importance among virtues because it underlies all the others, trust, to me, is similarly situated among the values that make relationships between people and organizations work.

We tend to think of trust as an implicit part of our work, but look around at some LeadingAge members’ mission statements, and it’s often stated out loud.

Gene Mitchell photo
Gene Mitchell

Oklahoma Methodist Manor has 7 organizational values, one of which is “Open Communication,” described with the statement that “We build trust, respect, and loyalty with each other by sharing information, ideas, and feelings.” Under “Good Stewardship,” this member says, “We acknowledge that a sacred trust is invested in Oklahoma Methodist Manor when families place their loved ones in our care.”

Westminster Village cites trust when it states, “We (Residents, Employees, and Board Members) trust, respect, and support each other.”

The Briarwood Community describes one of its core values this way: “We value a living and working environment based on mutual respect, trust, and support.”

You could Google around for an hour, I’m sure, and find 100 more examples from our membership. And of course, the LeadingAge mission statement is simply to be “The trusted voice for aging.”

In this issue, we look at several issues from the perspective of trust, and we asked the members and other sources we interviewed to talk about the role of trust in the work that they do.

Trust is a bedrock requirement for those serving older adults who have been traumatized by elder abuse. Read “A Trusted Ally Against Abuse” to learn about how some members have taken responsibility for helping these most vulnerable of people.

In “Being a Trusted Partner Builds a Better Community,” we spoke with a couple of members who have created partnerships with other entities to provide new community services. It goes without saying that if we are to be the trusted voice for aging, we must also be a trusted actor as well.

I think anyone who is good at managing people can tell us that a lack of trust is toxic to any workplace culture. In “Trust Is a 2-Way Street,” get the perspectives of members and people-management experts, along with some tips for assessing and improving trust among staff.

LeadingAge puts a high priority on member advocacy, and in a hyper-partisan political climate, it’s crucial that we be seen as nonpartisan, honest, and trustworthy. Read “Trusted Voices for Residents and Clients: Advocacy Success Stories” to see how LeadingAge members can put those values to work.

An Intergenerational Partnership Brings Older Adults and Kids Together—and Saves a Valuable Nonprofit” is a member-written article that tells a story of partnership, cooperation, and shared values. I think this is one of those cases where the trust is implicit but strong.

Community newsletters can easily be taken for granted. They are ubiquitous elements of the internal life of most LeadingAge member organizations, but they are also part of the glue that makes those communities feel like communities. I have a strong suspicion that trust is a big part of that recipe. Read “A Golden Ribbon Through 4 Decades of a Community’s Life,” in which one member takes a fond look back at 40 years of a newsletter.

Finally, in “Artists, Attorneys, and Gardeners: These are the People We Serve,” you’ll see the latest installment of our longstanding “People We Serve” series, in which members brag on their residents, clients, and employees. Keep the stories coming! I trust you will.

Gene Mitchell is editor of LeadingAge magazine.