Caring for residents in memory care often requires a tender heart and the ability to relate and understand the feelings that their families are also going through during this transition time. Guilt. Anger. Frustration. The list goes on.
Carrie Wilson, Program Director for The Reflections Memory Care at Ivy at Ellington knows just how to connect with family members and help them cope during this difficult time. She understands that it’s not just about a resident’s diagnosis, it’s about getting to know who they truly are. What are their interests? What do they believe in? What are their hopes and dreams?
She knows these feelings all too well because she’s been in their shoes.
From CEO to CNA
“My family thought I was crazy to go from owning my own website development company, to be a CNA for my grandpa. But I wouldn’t change anything, and I don’t regret my decision,” says Carrie.
Her grandparents are why she’s in the senior living industry. As they got older, they needed extra help, so she decided to move in with them. Owning her own company gave her a lot of flexibility.
“I could work wherever my computer was. It just made sense to move in with my grandparents. It wasn’t really a question; it’s what you do for family.”
Eventually, her grandpa needed more care and moved to a memory care community. That’s where Carrie really saw the joy of working with memory care residents.
“My grandpa had vascular dementia and declined quickly. But the care he received, the activities and the whole program at his memory care community was simply amazing for him. It really enriched his life.”
Giving Back to Memory Care Residents
After being a personal CNA for her grandfather, Carrie felt like she found her true calling of working senior living. She went to work for a few different companies in a variety of roles: activities director, memory care director, sales and marketing coordinator – she’s done it all.
But starting out as a CNA gave her the chance to experience that one-on-one experience with residents.
The time spent caring for her grandfather brought her to where she is today. And she plans to make the most of her time here at Reflections Memory Care at Ivy at Ellington.
“There are so many opportunities for our residents here. From using our sensory room to reconnect the residents with their senses by using special lighting, soothing music, an aquarium and lava lamp, to having a water balloon fight. It’s all about finding their passions and modifying to where they’re at.”
“What I am most excited about is how every piece and corner of the community is suited for our residents and staff. The size of the showers are a dream come true for our CNAs – I will always have a place in my heart for the CNA staff and the hard work they do. It’s the little things like that most people wouldn’t pay attention to – but everything from the lighting to the glass sun porches is so well thought out,” says Carrie.