Making memories every day as a TMA

“I don’t think a day goes by that there’s not memories made,” says Jean Happke, a trained medical assistant (TMA) at Pierz Villa in Pierz, Minnesota. “I have taken seniors out for a ride around the block, or to look at Christmas lights. There’s a resident who wanted to go through her closet, so we went through her clothes and talked about memories. I try to make a difference every day.”

Jean enjoys her job as a professional senior caregiver because she likes taking care of people. “I love the stories and the hugs and the appreciation and everything that the elderly give you,” says Jean. “It doesn’t feel like a job – it feels like another family in your life.”

Being a caregiver is challenging at times, Jean says, particularly caring for patients with dementia. It can be sad when residents don’t have families or have families who don’t visit. But Jean emphasizes that being a caregiver is often fun and always rewarding. “It’s just all about attitude,” says Jean. “They say don’t get attached, but I believe it’s impossible not to.”

Nearly everybody has a senior in their life, says Jean, and it will take all of us to ensure seniors have the care they need. For Jean, something as simple as a smile or visit makes such a difference in the lives of the residents she serves. “Just go in with compassion and love – seniors have a lot to offer. Do the best you can and think of them as your grandma and grandpa. Treat them how you’d want to be treated.”

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