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Working With senior Citizens And Why I Love My Job
They Are Not Old, They Are Better!
I work in a home for senior citizens who are retired and independent . Though times are changing and we are now accepting younger people these days as well. It seems there are no facilities where these people can go. They come here mostly for health reasons. Family members are working, not to mention if they have children as well, and home health aides and nurses are expensive, and they are to young for asssisted living or a nursing home. The facility I work in dates back to 1873, and it is run by the Episcopal church. Back in the day it was only started for the elderly women and the poor women. It was a safe haven for them. Like I mentioned a bit earlier times are changing. Back then they did not accept males into the home. That has changed also. We are a non profit organization. We don't have any frills here, like the big Fancy places, but what we have is the feel of family! One on one is what we are. If you have a problem or concern you can always count on one of the staff to be there for you!
So anyway I'm a cook and overnight aid there. I pretty much live at my job on the weekends. So as I sit here in my staff bedroom I think about how much I love and appreciate my job which I have been here 5 1/2 years ,and how much I've learned about older people since working here. It is not just a job for me. My residents are like family to me, and I love them all. I am always sad to see one of my residents leave us. I like to get to know my residents on a personal level and I try to help them in anyway I can. I have had a few very special favorites in the past, though they are gone I still miss them and think about them. Amy was a Gem! She had a heart of gold and loved animals. Amy overcame a major car accident, that left her with half of her mobility. She used to visit me in my kitchen at night when I was prepping for the next day. Amy had a very upbeat personality!! She was stubbron though, she would never tell you when she was sick, and she went to the hospital to late. I heard it on my police scanner that day...
My Bestie was Eldaberry, that was my nickname for her. It felt so odd for me, as I found out we grew up on the very same hill, Stow Ave to be exact! And we would talk about the "Hill" as we called it, and it felt like we were going back in our own time... Then I lost her. The weekend I was working I went down to the basement and when I came back up, she was calling for help. I found her laying on the floor in front of her room, the walker on top of her. El was bleeding from her head. I stayed calm, but I was crying inside.. I called 911 and followed their directions. Help arrived, and I called her daughter, and at this point I almost lost it. El's daughter knew how close we were, she told me not to worry. My sad regret is El never did get back to see the hill like she wanted. She wanted me to take her, but it was against the rules at my job. Her daughter said she would, but it never happened. I went to see her in the Hospital. They said she would be coming back, but she did not. I have to laugh tho, because when I saw her then, she asked me to do something for her. She handed me her 'teeth", and told me to put them in the cup and keep them safe. That was the last time I saw her. She passed on after that.
Okay onto another note, I know all of my residents food likes and dislikes, and I do my best to accomadate them when I am serving meals, plus little extras. They can be so fussy, tho when they come here, they say they love all kinds of food. Sometimes we even have drama in the diningroom. Yes old people can get into it with other residents. As a rule we pretty much joke around and have a good time at meals. They have a pretty good sense of humor. My favorite things to post on the Menu Board are: TBA, and Your Choice of Road Kill! Ha ha they get a kick out of it.
I really love planning my yearly Halloween Party as well. I plan the menu and cook it myself, and I dress up in a costume. Residents family come, as well as other staff members here. We play games and we have prizes, I have even arranged entertainment for the parties. My grandkids come over for the party as well, and my residents always enjoy seeing the girls.
I am not just here on the weekends to make sure the building is safe and secure. I go beyond my job description. I have helped my residents when they have bought furniture that needed to be put togheter, or fixed their computer, called the cable company when their cable was not working or even opening a bottle of pills for them . Sitting on the patio hanging out in the summer with them. Chatting and just talking about their lives, and learning about them. This past New Years Eve I spent with one of my residents ringing in the New Year. She is only in her early 60's and we have become good friends. Most of the time it's quiet here, but there have been the times when I've had to send someone to the hospital. Once I sent 2 people in the same night. Just recently I had to handle a situation at 2am in the morning when a car ran into our building, that kept me busy for about 2 hours.
I really love my job, and I see what it is like to get older and everything that goes on when you do. My job is not like working in a nursing facility. I don't take care of them, I am more of a babysitter at night, so I see what goes on behind the scenes with the family and the actual day to day lives of my residents. They have good days and bad days. My only hope is if I need to go someplace when I am old, it will be as nice as where I work now, and they will be as caring as all of our staff.