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May 6-12 is National Nurses Week – a time to recognize the extraordinary people who choose a career path of service and support. There is something extra special about the nurses who serve older adults and their families.

As a part of the Aging Services of Minnesota Stars Among Us campaign, we asked caregivers to tell us why they chose a career serving older adults. We received hundreds of responses, but here are just a few that represent the heart and soul of this profession.

We are so thankful for all you do on behalf of older adults and families in Minnesota!

Linda Beyers is a Registered Nurse and Director of Health Services at Potter Ridge Assisted Living. Linda says:

What inspires you to serve older adults? Is there a mentor or fellow caregiver who motivates or helps you? What keeps you going on tough days?
Older adults are beautiful inside and out. I am inspired by their strength, endurance, trust and their life stories. I have been encouraged and motivated by many over the years, including previous directors and co-workers who believed in my skills when I didn’t. I have had challenges, as many have, and I am able to keep going on tough days by using humor along with my faith. My husband and grandchildren are also an inspiration.

What does a career serving older adults mean to you? What is the most meaningful or rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
My career serving older adults has truly been a blessing. My life is richer because of those I have cared for over the past 30 years. Taking care of older adults is my passion. The most meaningful and rewarding part of my job is being part of a very large family. Older adults desire to learn, and hosting “Coffee with the Nurse” monthly provides education and empowering the residents with knowledge is a joy.

What do you advocate for? What do you want public policy makers to know about the work you do?
I advocate for attentive medical care for aging adults. In the past few months I have experienced negative outcomes when sending residents that are ill to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room. Public Policy makers need to realize older adults can make decisions for themselves. The work we do is not work, it is all about serving one another as we age. This is one of the most rewarding occupations.

Anne Stucki is a Licensed Practical Nurse at Augustana Care. Anne says:

What inspires you to serve older adults? Is there a mentor or fellow caregiver who motivates or helps you? What keeps you going on tough days?
That the work I do improves their quality of life. My Director of Nursing motivates and inspires me by advocating for me and supporting my decisions. It is the little things that keep me going on tough days, the smile or joke from a resident.

What does a career serving older adults mean to you? What is the most meaningful or rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
A career serving older adults means: Promoting self care and independence to the client’s highest ability, assuring safety/ comfort and cleanliness, maintaining dignity, and maintaining stability. The most meaningful part of my job is not just knowing, but seeing, that my work makes a difference in people’s lives. Most challenging is underfunding for seniors.

What do you advocate for? What do you want public policy makers to know about the work you do?
I advocate for health care coverage for everyone.

Kaitlyn Hennig is a Nurse Manager at Anoka Care CenterVolunteers of America. Kaitlyn says:

What inspires you to serve older adults? Is there a mentor or fellow caregiver who motivates or helps you? What keeps you going on tough days?
Compassion for the elderly and understanding that they have lived a life full of experiences. Now that they may need further assistance with daily living, I am honored to create a comfortable and safe living environment.  What keeps me going on tough days is the residents and their families – understanding that challenges are opportunities blossoming into the environment that we strive to create.

What does a career serving older adults mean to you? What is the most meaningful or rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the employees, families, and residents with a smile on their face. The most challenging aspect of my career is going home at the end of the day. I always feel like there is more to accomplish in creating a better life for the residents……it’s hard to leave even though I am completely exhausted.

What do you advocate for? What do you want public policy makers to know about the work you do?
I advocate for the residents, families, and my co-workers. I feel that everyone has a voice and it is needs to be heard; everyone has a different thought process and different views and ideas. If I can share their knowledge with others and it benefits something, it is worth it.

Denice Mudra is a Nurse Manager at St. John’s Lutheran Home. Denice says:

What inspires you to serve older adults? Is there a mentor or fellow caregiver who motivates or helps you? What keeps you going on tough days?
I have always had several elderly people in my life, usually family members. The one thing that always impressed me was their spirit of sacrifice-they were willing to do whatever it took to make sure their families were cared for and society progressed.

What does a career serving older adults mean to you? What is the most meaningful or rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
It means carrying on that spirit so that what they accomplished is not lost. If I can build on what they started I can care for my family and progress society.

What do you advocate for? What do you want public policy makers to know about the work you do?
How hard we work-physically and mentally. I am I am always amazed at my co-workers, how they can always give whatever it takes to get the job done. They truly love their residents and treat them with respect, love and generosity.

Thank you to all nurse caregivers who make a difference every day in the lives of the people you serve. Click here to read more about the caregivers who truly are Stars Among Us here in Minnesota.

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Aging matters to all of us.

This blog will address the issues, questions, challenges and opportunities that surface as we work to meet the demands of an aging population.

It’s also a place to highlight the people and organizations whose passion, creativity and commitment are shaping the future of older adult services in Minnesota.

Everyone has a story about how aging impacts their life – we hope you’ll join the conversation and share your story.

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