The middle of June marks National Nursing Assistant Week, meant to encourage people to recognize and honor these dedicated caregivers. To us, a week is simply not long enough. Nursing assistants really are at the “front line” of health care. By some estimates they provide 80 or 90% of the care an older adult receives in a senior community. Nursing assistants work as home-health aides, hospital aides and certainly are critical to the quality care that Laureate Group is known for.
The women and men who choose to be a nursing assistant for a career share a passion for working with older adults. Older adults and their families who grow to depend upon a nursing assistant for daily care come to see this characteristic.
Nursing assistants provide hands on-care and help with routine tasks, at the level an individual requires. For some this may include help bathing, dressing, setting up toiletries, or providing reminders, while others may need less help. Beyond help with these tasks, nursing assistants find that it can be very simple things that they can do that can make someone’s day.
Laura works in Spring House, a specialized environment for those with memory loss. When asked to share how she helps to make life easier for older adults, she shared, “One woman I care for was very upset, but unable to communicate why. I figured out that she couldn’t find her glasses. Once found, she was calm once again,” explained Laura. Something as simple as searching and finding the misplaced pair can do so much to ease emotions. “We have a caring staff that is responsive to every need, even if it may seem little,” she added.
Our caregivers are there for a variety of important reasons in addition to assistance with activities of daily living. They offer reassurance, companionship, peace of mind, as well as provide emergency response. Whether it is addressing an envelope so a grandson’s birthday card makes it there on time, or helping someone pick out the perfect outfit for a special outing, we believe there is no bigger priority than to help our older adults manage their day.
Families come to recognize just how deep the connection can become between our staff and their loved one. Observes Keith, “This is not just a job for these people, it’s clear they enjoy their work. They get to know what my Mother needs, but more than that what she likes and is interested in. They provide more than just care, they reassure me, and the rest of my family.” Keith appreciates the compassionate staff along with the family atmosphere.
Laura agrees that the connections can run deep. “Some connections are stronger than others. I have become very close to many people, and think about them in my off-time.” Laura’s connections with the people she cares for extends to her own family as well. Both her Dad and son have come to meet her “Laureate family” at various holiday events.
The work of a nursing assistant is challenging, make no mistake. Katie is another one of our caregivers. She shares, “It is hugely challenging, but I love taking care of people. I will give 150% to help people here. There is a lot of satisfaction in this job, knowing you have really helped another person. I love the one on one social interaction because you learn so much about each individual by working directly with them. And they appreciate everything you do for them.”
Observed Katie, “Offering a smile, knowing everyone’s name, stopping to say hello in the midst of a busy day, that is what makes an impression.” Adds Laura, “We want to make it so that living in our community is more than residing in an apartment, but living in a home.”