Interviews with Sunset’s Essential Workers

Jun 24, 2020

essential workers giving a safe high-five

A few weeks ago we expressed our gratitude for all of our essential workers here at Sunset Senior Communities. Their love and dedication do not go unnoticed. This week, we took some time to ask a few staff members about their experiences as essential workers during COVID-19. We hope their responses give you an idea of what it’s like behind the scenes and how foundational their work is to fulfilling our mission of providing quality services to senior adults in the spirit of Christian love.

Changes

A big change our essential workers experienced was an increased awareness of how their actions affected others. Staff members took care to protect their families and Sunset’s residents.

Q: Talk a little about how your job or your life has changed since becoming an essential worker?

“Being an essential worker means I’m out in the public more than people who are able to work from home,” said Bri, a recreational therapy assistant (RTA), “This made me nervous at first because I felt like I was at a higher risk for passing something to my loved ones.”

“I have become very careful about where I’m going and who I’m with to keep our residents safe,” said Emily, another RTA.

Danielle, a certified nursing assistant, said “I became very protective of keeping our residents safe. They are like family to me.”

Surprises

A few months ago, no one could exactly predict how life as an essential worker would look. Along with plenty of changes came a few surprises, including growing closer together as a team.

Q: What has surprised you about being an essential worker at Sunset Senior Communities during COVID-19?

Bri: “We became closer as a team and didn’t let COVID-19 or our anxieties tear us apart.”

Maddie (RTA): “We all came together and stayed positive.”

Danielle: “I was surprised at the recognition we received as essential workers from the public.”

Emily: “My schedule didn’t change as much as I thought – I was able to still stay busy with work and my classes. I also didn’t feel isolated at all (like many people during this time), because I’d come to work and see the residents and my coworkers.”

Challenges

We’re thankful for the positivity and teamwork our staff has shown during COVID-19. However, we also know being an essential worker brings challenges. The stress and anxiety brought on by the loss of control can be especially hard to face.

Q: Was there something specific that challenged you?

Danielle: “The biggest challenge for me was not being in control—COVID-19 controlled every aspect of our lives.”

Emily: “Personally, I graduated from college this year, so I felt like everything was up in the air, which was challenging. I am still waiting to hear about my master’s program (OT School). I felt stuck and couldn’t do anything about it.”

Maddie: “I became very nervous to go anywhere, because of the fragile population we work with.”

Favorite Things

Though our social interactions are restricted by guidelines to keep us safe and protect others, it’s amazing how simply connecting with and supporting each other brings joy and calms fear. By far, our staff members’ favorite part of each day is being able to form these connections with residents and coworkers.

Q: What is your favorite part of the workday?

Bri: “Reading through The Daily Chronicle in Memory Care—this is a time that allows me to catch up with the residents. I also love the afternoon walks I’m able to take with the residents.”

Danielle: “I love being able to make the residents happy!”

Maddie: “Seeing everyone (coworkers and residents). I leave work at night in such a great mood, because of the time I’ve been able to spend with our residents!”

Emily: “I love being able to make the residents smile and help alleviate some of their anxieties. An example of this happened last week when I was leading a Bible study for a couple of our Memory Care residents. I could tell that they were physically and emotionally more calm after the Bible study. It truly brought them peace.”

Q: What is your favorite thing about working for Sunset?

Bri: “There are so many ways to use your talents here! If there is something new you’d like to try, they support you!”

Emily: “The people. Since I’ve started working for Sunset, my faith has grown and I’m more confident. I’ve had so many meaningful conversations with my coworkers and our residents.”

Maddie: “The people here are kind and they really care about what they do and want to be here.”

Danielle: “The people: we’re like family here.”

Where Passion Meets Culture

Sunset is a place where passion for our mission drives us and compels us to do amazing things—to love despite fear and to serve amidst uncertainty. Our culture is best seen in the life and action of our staff when no one is looking.

We are actively looking for individuals who strive for excellence and have the love and compassion to serve our residents. If you are interested in joining our team, click here to view our current job opportunities.