Working in long-term care means having a lasting impact

“Seniors are our wisdom keepers,” says Mary Nell Zellner, a senior health care consultant based in St. Paul, Minnesota. “They are our legacy.” Mary Nell says that of all the states she has been blessed to work, she feels Minnesota has a value system that prioritizes our people. “We are here to help elders in…

It takes a strong village to care for our seniors

“My parents are snowbirds and go to Arizona every winter,” says professional and family caregiver Deb Trygstad. Deb lives in Erhard, Minnesota, a small town about 40 minutes south of Detroit Lakes and a 2016 population of 150 people. In preparation to come home from Arizona, Deb’s mother fell and broke her hip and shoulder.…

25 years caring for residents with passion and love

Sevelle Kamara says her kids remark that she’s always smiling when she comes home from work. “I tell them, ‘When you do what I do, you understand how it is,’” says Sevelle. “I love what I do.” Having worked as a trained medical assistant (TMA) at Good Samaritan Society-Special Care Community in Robbinsdale for over…

My dad’s aging journey taught me how to love selflessly

“I became a better person in caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s,” says Cindy Lou Ferris, a family caregiver for her father, who passed away from Alzheimer’s. The most rewarding part of the aging journey with her father was being able to give back. “I learned how to selflessly love,” says Cindy. “In some small…

Caring for mom through memory loss

Apple Valley resident Lauren Edstrom helped her mother move into assisted living and then into memory care two months later. Lauren’s mother now lives in a residential care home for women with memory loss. For Lauren, the most rewarding part of the journey through aging with her mom has been forgiveness. “I now understand her…

How elder loved ones influenced me to pursue caregiving

For me, getting into the senior care profession came about because of loved ones. My elderly grandmother stayed in her own home as long as she could until she needed more support. She moved to a long-term care facility and it was inspiring to watch how my parents and aunts and uncles cared for her.…

Supporting an elderly parent: the beautiful and tragic

Missy Jenner, a resident of Grand Rapids, cared for her elderly mother in her older years. Her mother passed away several years ago, and the caregiving experience left a profound impression on Missy. One deeply rewarding part of caring for her mother was her mom’s need for Missy to be with her. After a fall…

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…

Facing Aging on Mother’s Day: mortality, imagination and the stuff

My mother is on a mission. She is circulating a list of her and my father’s household and personal belongings that she considers valuable to her children. The mission is for my sister, brother and me to identify what we might like to have after she and my dad have died. Once we fulfill our…

Mother and daughter share passion for long-term care

Shayla Mahmalji and Marti Brende carpool to work every day. Shayla works in human resources, and Marti works in social services, but both daughter and mother share a passion for long-term care and love their jobs at Aftenro Home in Duluth, Minnesota. “I’ve been in and around long-term care my whole life,” says Shayla. “I…

Helping others is the best part

“The reward in the long run is worth every bit of time put into your job,” says Julia Urdahl, a CNA at Prairie Pines Community Assisted Living in Fosston, Minnesota.  Julia’s grandmother was a RN and told Julia that if she wanted to go into nursing, she needed to work as a CNA at a…