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PrimeTime: Feeding assistants make important contribution

Patricia Fisher, left, and Joan Ditty have worked as feeding assistants with Havenwood Care Center since March 2006. Submitted Photo

"Working and helping people has always been a part of my life" says Patricia Fisher when asked why she chose to become a feeding assistant at Havenwood Care Center. "I realized that helping one way or another was something I liked doing."

Patricia is just one of many seniors who have given their love and compassion to our residents in need of a little assistance during meal time.

In 2004, the state of Minnesota developed the "Paid Feeding Assistant Program," which allowed nursing facilities like Havenwood to train individuals to assist residents - those who have no complicated feeding problems - with the activities of eating and drinking.

In April 2004, Havenwood held its first training course, and in May, employed 15 individuals as feeding assistants. Five of those employees were older than 70. Many of our senior employees are retired but felt the need to continue their passion of helping others and bringing a little joy into their lives. Pat tells me her most rewarding experience is "all the thank-yous, hugs and smiles that we get from the residents. I even have one that calls me Grandma. It's fun." Our eldest employee started with us at the age of 80 but finally "retired for good" at the age of 84.

Joan Ditty, another of our seniors serving seniors, was unaware of what a feeding assistant was before she attended our class, but says she saw our ad in the local newspaper and thought it "sounded like I might enjoy it. I enjoy working with the residents and each shift brings some visiting, good mornings and smiles."

Havenwood Care Center invites anyone interested to our informational seminar titleld "What is a Feeding Assistant and What Do They Do?" Here you will learn how Joan and Pat are able to make an important contribution to the lives of our residents. Other topics include the requirements needed to become a Feeding Assistant, employment opportunities and much more.

Our feeding assistants play an important role, not only in helping to bring a smile or a little laughter to those in need, but also assisting our licensed staff during the very busy meal times. Feeding assistants work a two-hour shift and are needed at all three meal times. Pat says she likes her hours and feels blessed to be able to work and get paid.

Working as a feeding assistant means you will be making an important contribution to those who need your help. It also provides you with an hourly wage that can help cover the extras.

Please join us from 1:30-2:30 p.m. May 20 at Havenwood Care Center in the Sunshine Lounge to find out more about our upcoming class. This may be just what you've been looking for.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 444-1739.