by James Coburn – staff writer
So much can be learned from the elderly, said Nancy Freeman, RN, DON, at Golden Age Nursing Facility. Older adults have given a tremendous amount of support to communities and their families. Freeman cannot help but to give of herself to them. So, it’s very important to Freeman to treat the elderly with respect, dignity and love with the best care that can be given them. That’s the niche she loves.
She earned her LPN license in Ponca City and her RN at Regents College, located in Albany, NY.
“I actually started in a small-town nursing home. I was a dishwasher,” she said. “And I just fell in love with the elderly at that time and worked in different departments. Then I decided I wanted to become a nurse which is something I always wanted to do. I just enjoyed taking care of the elderly and what gifts they bring to us.” (story continues below)
She and her husband relocated to Guthrie from Kansas City to be close to their children who had moved to Oklahoma. Freeman didn’t want to continue her nursing career as a traveling nurse that she had for many years. She began her search and found Golden Age. From that moment on, Freeman has felt the same charm of the nursing facility back in Kansas where everybody was family.
“Everybody supports everybody. When someone needs help you don’t hear, ‘That’s not my resident. That’s not my hall,’” she said. “Everybody pitches in to help one another to make sure our residents are taken care of. It just feels right to be here.”
The family-owned company has been very supportive to not only the residents, but also the staff during the COVID pandemic, she continued. The company ensured the staff had every tool they needed to do their daily jobs.
The company supported the staff emotionally, said Freeman, who as a leader set an example.
“Part of that was teaching,” Freeman said. “I’m a firm believer in teaching. If the staff understands why we’re doing what we’re doing, then they’re more apt to follow through. It was also working with the staff. If they needed me to work on the floor, then I would work on the floor beside them. If I needed to come in and be here on evenings, then I was. If I needed to be here on nights, then I would come in. And just doing that also helped to bring the staff together.”
If one person needed a day off, other staff would work for them. Their goal has been for each of the residents’ needs to be met. Residents have the unconditional care and love that they deserve.
Meanwhile, the residents were not able to touch their families during the early days of COVID-19. But the staff was an extension of their families and became more of a family to each other as well, Freeman said.
The staff was an empathetic ear to others who were working long hours due to the pandemic. They offered a comforting ear to what was different at home with their children and family — anything that had shifted in life at that time.
“We were supportive about anything needed at the time, and we still do that,” she said.
Families and the nursing staff are also very supportive of one another. There is an open line of communication between them, Freeman said.
It’s hard for Freeman to pinpoint what one certain nurse or CNA did. The effort has been collective with several people in the team going above and beyond their call of duty.
“The ones who have volunteered to work with COVID did it without a blink of an eye and have shown care and love to the residents,” Freeman said of what touches her life. “That’s part of it. And then the other staff who assisted the residents by doing face-time visits or helping them fix their hair and paint their nails. There was so much of that going around.”
The residents have brought a lot of strength to the team. They have realized how serious COVID is, Freeman said. They did not want to have their family members become sick. So, they were more than willing to do plexiglass visits because they worried about their families.
“They wanted to make sure that their families were safe,” she said. “And that is something to admire — that the residents would think of their families.”
The pandemic came as an unprecedented event by being the first pandemic in 100 years. So, Freeman said it has been nice to see nurses rise to the occasion during a novel period of history.
“This wasn’t a totally different thing from what has happened,” she said. “But we all did what we needed to do and did it with a smile on our face because we wanted the residents to be as happy and healthy as they could be.”
For more information on Golden Age Nursing visit http://goldenageguthrie.com/ or call 405-282-0144