As a young professional himself, 23-year-old Casey Ward wants Minnesota’s young people to know how rewarding and impactful a caregiving career is.
In September 2017, Casey became administrator at Good Samaritan Society in International Falls, a town of 6,000 in northern Minnesota. The facility provides home care services, including skilled nursing, personal care and therapy.
With a double major in business and health care administration from Concordia College in Moorhead, Casey interned at several different facilities in Minnesota before taking part in the Good Samaritan administration training program in Brainerd in summer 2017.
Casey will tell you that the best part of his job is the residents.
“The biggest opportunity that you have is just an amazing career where you get to make a positive impact upon friends, families, community members that you grew up with,” says Casey. “There’s a lot of impactful people that you get to meet and take care of every day. It’s very rewarding to hear stories and take the stuff that you learn from the everyday work you do and put it into your own life.”
Casey says the most important part of working in senior care is making staff and residents feel loved, valued and at peace. “I get to go to work every day and try to make it the place that everybody in the community wants to work,” he says.
Minnesota’s growing aging population means an increasing demand for caregivers. Over the next decade, Minnesota will need 25,000 more caregivers as the senior population doubles.
One way Casey says Minnesota can prepare the caregiving workforce is to invest in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) system, which offers a variety of programs such as certified nursing assistant (CNA) training at low cost that will help produce more skilled senior care workers. “A lot of jobs within senior services require some sort of certification or post-secondary education,” Casey says. “That sort of investment is highly important to be able to have qualified workers to provide the amazing care that we do.”
For Casey and other dedicated Minnesota caregivers, the senior care profession offers fulfilling careers with continuous opportunities for growth. Casey’s own career demonstrates how young professionals can continue to develop their talents and excel in the field with hard work and commitment.
“It’s one of those jobs where you come to work every day, and you learn a lot about yourself and the people you’re with,” Casey says. “I think that’s truly the coolest part.”