What’s Your Why?

June 1, 2023

At LeadingAge PA’s annual conference, attendees heard heartfelt stories and valuable insights from industry leaders. Among them, Vicki Loucks, VP & Chief Operating Officer of Redstone Presbyterian SeniorCare captivated the audience with her emotional “why” statement. She revealed the reasons behind her decision to embark on a career in the aging services field and shed light on the unwavering motivation that fuels her even in the face of adversity.  

Vicki shared:

“My first experience with aging services was not a good one. As a nursing student in the early 1990’s, my least favorite rotation was in a nursing home. I actually hated it.  Those were the days when we tied people to wheelchairs so they wouldn’t fall and fed them with syringes so they wouldn’t starve. All in the name of good care and safety. What were we thinking? 

I knew that I never wanted to work in a place like that. I wanted the cool nursing gig – you know – Emergency Room or Labor & Delivery. Real nursing jobs where nursing skills mattered, not just some nursing home. I vowed to get through that rotation and never look back. But when I graduated in 1993 there were no nursing jobs available. Somehow, I landed at Redstone and decided I’d stick it out for a month or two until a 'real' nursing job became available.

As I worked with these beautiful residents at Redstone and watched as my 104-year-old great-grandmother needed services, something happened in my soul. I began to realize that I was a real nurse, treating a bunch of real conditions, not just one specialized area or disease. I was also treating individuals who relied on me and my coworkers to feel safe, but also to feel dignified and independent.


I changed my vow – from never wanting to work in a nursing home to dedicating my career to making a difference in the lives of each elder that I came in contact with, one person at a time. 

I knew I was on to something when Redstone became restraint free just a year or two after I started. I vividly recall the day one of our CNAs and I were accepting a new patient from an ambulance crew. The patient was tied to the stretcher in posey restraints. The CNA untied her and handed the vest restraint to the EMT who said, ‘don’t you need that?’ She smiled and with pride said, 'we don’t use those here.' The patient, now in the bed, clapped her hands and smiled broadly. That’s when I knew my “why.” 


Vicki’s transformative journey within the aging services field is a testament to the power of personal growth and the profound impact that individuals can have on the lives of others.  

Attendees at the conference were asked to share their own “why” stories:  

  • “I want to be someone’s angel. Working in aging services allows us to be a ray of sunshine and a source of peace and comfort to residents and their families as they navigate the next chapter of their story.” 

  • “My grandmother, Virginia, who dedicated her life to serving the most vulnerable and sharing God’s love with them.”  

  • “To provide dignity to seniors.”  

  • "To support and serve a population who has worked to shape the world. To bring joy, peace and dignity into the aging process.”  

  • “It’s more than a job. It’s my mission and ministry.”  


Now, it is time to reflect and ask yourself: What is your “why” in the aging services field?