Assisted living aide couldn’t imagine working elsewhere

Good Samaritan Society residents feel at home with caregivers like Julie Oaks

Assisted living aide couldn’t imagine working elsewhere

Puzzled by an uninspiring occupation, Julie Oaks is piecing together a new, purposeful profession at Good Samaritan Society – Prairie Creek Assisted Living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“It’s tough. It’s a 1,000-piece one,” resident Eleanor Eichmann says plugging away at a puzzle in a common space with Oaks.

Oaks adds, “I like trying to find pieces and being able to talk to the residents while they’re playing. I don’t think I could imagine working in a different place.”

The 25-year-old, who commutes from Hurley, is caring for residents as a medication aide after stints at a grocery store and pharmacy.

“It’s a great career to get into and working for Good Sam, they make you feel important and appreciated,” Oaks says.

‘Passionate about her residents’

Assisted living manager Hannah Peters says the 32 apartments at Prairie Creek house a great community of active people.

“Julie is great. She is so kind. She is gentle. You can tell she really is passionate about her residents and the care she provides. She just does it with such grace and calmness,” Peters says.

Resident Connie Hermanson is a new addition.

“I’m thankful that I’m living here. For sure because they really take good care of you,” Hermanson says. “I couldn’t be in a better place. There’s no way.”

Staff here says assisted living can be hard for people to admit they need. The Society’s goal is to make the transition a good experience.

“I always have a smile on my face. The residents always compliment me on how good of a job I do and they like my dimples when I smile,” Oaks says with a big grin.

‘Appreciated for what I’m doing every day’

Darlene Jones moved in five years ago. She turns 90 this fall and loves visiting with her favorite aide.

“I enjoy having her come. When she’s on the other side working, I always say, no Julie today?” Jones jokes. “They clean my room. They bring my pills. I get to go down for all my meals. They help me if I need help.

“It’s just a great place to be.”

Peters points out that, “Julie has made really great connections with residents and their families. I think the families feel comfortable and confident that their loved ones are going to be taken care of and their needs are going to be met when Julie is around.”

With a family history in health care, Oaks is excited to keep growing in her role at the Society.

“I have a lot of family members who work in health care as nurses and CNAs and med aides, and they seem to really like it. I wanted to see if it was for me,” Oaks says.

“It makes me feel happy just knowing I’m doing a good job and appreciated for what I’m doing every day.”

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Posted In Nursing and Nursing Support, Sanford Stories, Senior Services, Sioux Falls