The joy of volunteering in retirement

As a middle school music director for 33 years, Dick Schirmacher learned to be energetic and have a sense of humor. “When you teach junior high, you have to know how to survive,” jokes Schirmacher. “In teaching you have to be complimentary and encouraging. I was more of an encourager than a director.” Now in…

Working with seniors, she found her dream job

Kris Swanson worked in management at Dayton’s and then Office Depot for a cumulative period of over three decades, but it wasn’t until five years before retirement that she found the job she calls her lifelong dream. Swanson started at Birchwood Arbors in Forest Lake as a volunteer, and after six months was hired as…

So much to learn from each other

Working in senior care is a very rewarding profession. You meet some very interesting people over time. You’re able to learn from the residents that you’re able to be with. You’re able to become more of an extended family. You’re able to learn about residents’ likes and dislikes: favorite foods, clothing, colors, activities and even…

House and Senate Bills Strive to Support Elderly and Disabled

As spending for health and human services continues to grow for Minnesota’s elderly citizens, state lawmakers are faced with a challenging balancing act: how to provide the quality care our aging seniors deserve while delivering essential services in a cost-efficient manner. Home and community based services help to assist in ensuring elderly Minnesotans get the…

The Journey of Being a Caregiver

I have often found the words “life is a journey, not a destination” very comforting. As a caregiver these are words to live by. Earlier on in my career, I often found myself consumed with a goal and a “destination” for the ones I was caring for. With the best intentions, my hopes would inspire…

Mike Maday Makes Seniors’ Days Brighter

When asked about his favorite part of caregiving, Mike Maday pauses. “You want me to pick one?” Maday, a Care Manager at Lakeview Methodist Health Care Center in Fairmont, Minnesota, has been a caregiver for thirty years. Being faithful and humble in his work, and making residents smile and feel happy, are some of the…

Caregiving: It’s About Compassion

When Staci Beranek was five or six years old, she visited her great-grandmother at an assisted living facility and the experience left a permanent impression. It helped inspire her to pursue a career caring for seniors, and she has now been a caregiver for almost seven years. As a CNA (certified nursing assistant) and TMA…

Caregiving: It’s About the Relationships

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…