When she was 16 years old, Diane Holicky began what would become a lifelong journey in long-term care. Her mother worked in the laundry department of a senior care center, and Diane worked there as an aide.
“Unknown to me at the time, I was instantly transformed into a long-term care employee,” Diane said. “I then went on to get my LPN license, continuing to work in the same facility in my hometown.”
Diane went on to get her RN license, and has worked as a floor nurse, nurse manager and director of nursing over the years. Today, Diane is the Director of Education at Auburn Homes and Services in Waconia.
“Now, in the twilight of my career, I am looking forward to teaching people how to care for our elderly population,” Diane said.
Diane has also experienced long-term care through the eyes of a loved one, which she calls eye-opening. “My mom was in hospice and passed away in a long-term care facility. My father-in-law also spent time in long-term care.”
Diane’s legacy in long-term care extends to her children, who grew up volunteering with seniors. “My daughter is now an RN in long-term care and loves it (her original plan was for fashion design).”
Twice, Diane left the long-term care profession to pursue other opportunities, but she returned both times. “I missed the atmosphere and environment of the long-term care facilities,” Diane said. “I am here to stay and love caring for the great elderly population that created this world we live in.”
Across Minnesota, the senior population is booming as 60,000 Minnesotans will turn 65 this year and every year through 2030. The state’s growing number of seniors will need an additional 25,000 caregivers to support them over the next decade. Diane acknowledges that caregivers do not have the easiest jobs.
“It’s hard work dealing with dementia, demanding loved ones, disease processes that change on a dime, and the limits put on facilities by regulations and budgets,” she said.
Caring for the elderly requires a strong partnership between our seniors, their families, their communities, professional caregivers and the State of Minnesota. Diane worries that the state may not be prepared to provide the care and support that all of our seniors deserve.
“The elderly population is getting left behind,” she said. “We need to be able to care for them.”