I’ve been a psychologist in long-term care for well over two decades and, while there have been some challenges to my enthusiasm over the years, I’ve remained largely content with my career direction. Despite distressing times of late, there are many reasons I continue to don my PPE to sit at the bedsides of those in need of emotional solace.
Here are eight of them:
- From the moment I walked through the door of my first nursing home, I stopped taking my good health for granted. I’ve been mindful of this blessing every day for years. Of course, now I’m acutely aware that by going to work I’m risking the gift of my health. Given the exposure I’ve had between my professional and personal lives, I probably had COVID-19 and didn’t realize it. If there were accurate, accessible antibody testing and information, it would reduce my stress level and perhaps allow me to see my own aging parents. In the meantime, my colleagues and I will visit with yours.
- My teammates are some of the most dedicated, compassionate people in the world. Individuals drawn to work in long-term care despite its lack of glamour and relatively low financial compensation are those that, like me, are in love with elders. My coworkers have the ability to recognize the charm and strengths of each resident and to focus on the most important aspects of life. Plus, my teammates are an international crew, immeasurably enriching my perspective with their experience.
- Psychology services are needed now more than ever. I’ve always known how valuable my psychotherapeutic presence has been to my patients at the nursing home, but this crisis has exponentially increased mental health awareness at every level.