Unsung Heros of Assisted Living

Jennifer Koeniger, Executive Director at The Memory Center Richmond- A Memcare Community wanted to pay tribute to the Unsung Heroes behind the scenes in long term care. She wrote this article to highlight members of her staff that are her Unsung Heros!

To Whom it May Concern:
I have been watching when I am able to do so and love seeing the Unsung Heroes that are helping this nation through the COVID-19 crisis, all are amazing!  I would love to express my appreciation for another group of Unsung Heroes – those who work in long term care.  I am the Executive Director of a secured facility that cares for 56 people with Alzheimer's and Dementia (24/7).  My entire operation, like so many others throughout the country is “essential”; my team comes to work every day to care for our residents.  I have nurses, certified nursing assistants, medication aides, housekeepers, cooks, and activities staff, all who come to work with our most vulnerable population, leaving behind their families at home and risking themselves to make sure someone else's loved one is cared for.
With Alzheimer's and dementia, the residents in our care are truly the most vulnerable, not only to the quick spread of illness, but also to the mental health aspect of feeling isolated.  They do not understand social distancing, why their loved ones have stopped visiting, why we can't have the activities that we always have, why we can't use our beautiful Town Hall, Theater and Tavern, etc.  It is our responsibility to love them and help them through this most difficult time, and to keep them safe as COVID-19 spreads across the country, and we are doing just that every day.  We are caring for them, and also for their loved ones who are unable to visit.  How heartbreaking it is for our families to not be able to visit their loved ones and to not know when they may be able to do so again.  Facetime, Skype, daily photos, and lots of love and encouragement are keeping everyone going.
I know every member of my team is facing their own personal struggles, with spouses out of work, children without childcare, some who are leaving work to go home and care for their own elderly parents; all of the struggles that our entire country is facing each day, but we are also the lucky ones.  Though there are times that it is very hard, we get up every day, come to work, and help to keep 56 people smiling, healthy and happy.    I would love it if you could add a segment on the Unsung Heroes who are doing the same in long term care and assisted living facilities across the country; we have people relying on us every day!
I wanted to get this in quickly for consideration to pay tribute to the Unsung Heroes behind the scenes in long term care. 
Thank you and stay well,
Jennifer Koeniger, ALFA
Executive Director
The Memory Center Richmond-A Memcare Community
13800 Bon Secours Drive
Midlothian, VA 23114
O: 804-378-5100  C: 804-304-1338
"Living Well with Alzheimer's and Dementia"


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