10 reasons I’m thankful to work in LTC
Eleanor Feldman Barbera, Ph.D.
- I get the chance to learn from experience — other people’s experience. Talking to elders gives me insight about what leads to happiness and what doesn’t. I’d like to think this has spared me a few mistakes along the road.
- LTC has improved my perspective. On days when I feel the weight of too many tasks to accomplish, I remember how lucky I am to be physically capable of taking care of my responsibilities. This allows me to focus on constructing a life I’ll be able to look back on with satisfaction when I’m 85 years old.
- I’m told regularly how much I’m appreciated. Residents express their gratitude for my assistance in various ways. It could be a beaming smile at my approach, finding out from a family member that I’m talked about all the time, or a warm comment like, “I don’t know what I’d do without you.” It’s a good reason to get to work every day.
- Little things make people so happy.Cleaning off a pair of smudged eyeglasses or changing a clock battery can turn me into a hero. It’s really easy and feels really good.
- I can work hours that suit my lifestyle. Long-term care is a 24/7 job. I’m grateful my shift is one that accommodates the rest of my life.
- It’s a clinically rich environment. As a shrink, I could be in private practice seeing individuals 45 minutes each week. Instead, I get to meet the residents, their roommates, their families, and the staff members who affect their lives. I can observe how the team works, what’s going on in healthcare, and how society views elders in this country and worldwide. It doesn’t get more exciting than that.
- I like representing psychology in a non-psychological world. Most of my coworkers are focused on the physical health of their charges. Some of them come from countries where psychologists and mental health care are foreign concepts. I enjoy demonstrating how psychologists contribute to the team and can make their jobs easier.
- LTC is cutting edge.As the U.S. population ages and an increasing amount of funds go toward healthcare, there’s a greater focus on eldercare and how to provide cost-effective, clinically appropriate services. Our work affects the health of the nation.
- No matter how old I get, I always feel young.My sister, by contrast, teaches high school and feels old.
- I work with some of the best, most caring people around. Yes, you.
Eleanor Feldman Barbera, PhD, author of The Savvy Resident’s Guide, is a 2014 Award of Excellence winner in the Blog Content category of the APEX Awards for Publication Excellence program. She also is the Gold Medalist in the Blog-How To/Tips/Service category of the 2014 American Society of Business Publication Editors Midwest Regional competition. A speaker and consultant with nearly 20 years of experience as a psychologist in long-term care, she maintains her own award-winning website at MyBetterNursingHome.com.