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.…

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…

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…

Training the next generation of passionate long-term care leaders

Last year, professor Steve Chies taught a class of 48 students who were entering a one-year practicum to train as long-term care administrators. “Out of the 48, 46 of them were millennials. It gave me great hope in our sector that we have good leaders coming up in millennials,” says Steve. “They’re passionate, enthusiastic and…

Real ways Minnesota can boldly face aging

More Minnesotans have submitted bold and innovative ideas on how Minnesota can face aging – thank you! Many of the ideas we received focused on community engagement, including the need for intergenerational connections. In one respondent’s words, fostering intergenerational relationships could be as simple as securing a regular time and space at a care center…

Coming alongside families through joy and loss

Reverend Daryl Jacobson says it’s a blessing to support seniors and their families through joy and loss. “You see them face tough circumstances and so many of them are able to meet the challenges and rise above those circumstances of life,” says Daryl, who spent thirty years in pastoral ministry before becoming a chaplain at…

Helping parents navigate getting older

Sandra Burklund wants decision-makers in our society to know the importance of implementing policies that recognize that we’re all part of the aging population and we’ll all eventually be faced with caregiving needs. “Not all are fortunate to have a family support system to help navigate aging challenges,” says Sandra. Sandra’s parents both receive care…

Walking through the aging journey with mom

Having worked as an administrator at Maple Lawn Senior Care for 26 years in Fulda, Minnesota, Arlan Swanson says it’s interesting to be on the other side of long-term care. When his 90-year-old mother fell and broke her hip, he experienced senior care from the perspective of a patient’s family. Arlan says seeing his mom…

A lifelong passion for long-term care

One summer in college, Annette Thorson thought about working on a dude ranch in Montana, but her mother didn’t approve. Instead, Annette took a job at a local nursing home, and found her lifelong passion. She started working in laundry and then became involved in activities. “I just fell in love with it,” says Annette.…

Local institute connects New Americans to long-term care careers

“Virtually all of our students end up working in long-term care. It’s what they want to do,” says Michael Donahue, Associate Director at the International Institute of Minnesota. “The cultures of most societies represented in New American populations so esteem elders. They tell us it would be like taking care of a grandparent.” As one…

Caring for Seniors with Dementia

Amanda Gruber began her career as a caregiver on her sixteenth birthday. Growing up visiting a nursing home where her mother was a nurse for 50 years and volunteering with seniors throughout her childhood gave Gruber an early sense of working with seniors. Now she has been a caregiver for 20 years, and is a…