I try to think about and express gratitude all year, but I appreciate the annual opportunity that Thanksgiving brings for me to dwell on all the things in my life for which I am grateful. Perhaps tops on the list this year will be the ability to spend the holiday in person with family members instead of talking over Zoom.

Something else for which we can be thankful are all of the outstanding women in the long-term care field who continue to serve and care for older adults. The pandemic may be in a different stage than it was at this time last year, but it still presents challenges.

Here’s one way you can express your gratitude: The McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards program is open for nominations. And after adding a category in 2021, the 2022 program features the expansion of existing categories into the home care sector, a new award and the return of in-person festivities.

The fourth annual program, brought to you by McKnight’s Senior Living, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Home Care, will recognize women working in senior living, skilled nursing and home care across three categories, through a Lifetime Achievement Award and through a new McKnight’s Spirit Award.

The three primary award categories for 2022:

  • Hall of Honor: Candidates should be senior-level professionals in the C-suite or at a level equivalent to vice president or higher and should have made a significant impact on their organization or the industry.
  • Veteran VIPs: Candidates should have more than 15 years of experience making an impact on the senior living, skilled nursing or home care fields and should be at a level lower than vice president or its equivalent.
  • Rising Stars: Candidates must be aged 40 or fewer years or have fewer than 15 years of experience in the profession. Also, they must have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the senior living and care industry.

Nominators should be prepared to share detailed information about nominees’ work histories, exceptional achievements and contributions or service, and anything else that the judging panel should consider. The more information — including quantifiable information — that you provide, the easier you’ll make the judges’ work.

This year’s additional award, the McKnight’s Spirit Award, will recognize inspiring women who provide care and services. As many as five honorees will be chosen.

All honorees, including a Lifetime Achievement Award winner, will be celebrated at an in-person event on May 12 in Chicago that also will recognize winners from 2020 and 2021, when the awards ceremony was held virtually. Educational sessions will be offered the next day; details will be announced at a later date.

Nominations for the Hall of Honor, Veteran VIP and Rising Star categories that are submitted by Dec. 8 will have a $69 entry fee. Nominations for those categories submitted between Dec. 9 and Jan. 5 will have a $99 entry fee. Nominations for those categories submitted between Jan. 6 and Jan. 12 will have a $129 entry fee. There is no fee to nominate someone for the McKnight’s Spirit Award.

For additional information about the awards, and to nominate someone for any of them, visit this website.

Read about 2019, 2020 and 2021 Rising Star, Veteran VIP (new for the 2021 awards) and Hall of Honor inductees at https://www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/tag/women-of-distinction/.

And one more expression of gratitude before I sign off: Thanks to PointClickCare for serving as the McKnight’s Women of Distinction program’s Diamond sponsor.