How would Lindsey Nelson describe being a caregiver?
“The best way I can tell people who don’t work in healthcare is I go to work and have 65 grandmas and grandpas that I get to see Monday through Friday.”
Nelson, a Household Coordinator at Three Links Care Center in Northfield, Minnesota, began caregiving at age seventeen. “We did a test in school to figure out what field to go into, and nursing was definitely one of my top things. I’m passionate about caring for others, so it just clicked.” At first, Nelson decided to pursue training as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) and eventually move into nursing, but realized that the nursing assistant caregiver role was her passion.
“My favorite part is the relationships. You have that bond—[the residents] open up to you, they trust you. It’s good to have those relationships—it makes your work easier when you really do care for someone.” One of the most difficult parts of caregiving, says Nelson, is losing someone you had formed a relationship with.
Watching special residents embrace aging has made Nelson think about how she will choose to live as she ages. “It brings to light [the question of] when I’m eighty years old, am I going to choose to sit in the room and lay in bed all day? Or am I going to be that person that says no, I’m going to go exercise or I’m going to be out there. Mainly continuing to live. I want to live.”
2015 senior care reforms implemented by the Minnesota legislature helped Nelson receive a salary raise. Nelson appreciates programs that allow her to advance her professional skills. “More people are wanting to extend their education as a caregiver to be able to perform better quality care to the residents we do serve.”
Nelson says that being a caregiver is hard work, but very rewarding. “You can leave work at the end of the day knowing ‘hey, I just made their life better today,’ or I provided them with amazing, great care today. And tomorrow I’m coming back and I’m going to do it again.”