Chelsea works in a rural long-term care facility as a Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) where for the past 6 years, she has loved helping people, getting to know the residents and being part of a team.
In a typical day, she takes care of residents by helping with personal care such as getting washed and dressed, teeth and hair brushed, transferred from bed to a wheelchair, assistance getting bathed, and assistance to be fed and toileted. Most importantly, she spends time visiting and engaging her residents in conversation.
The past 2 years have been hard.
For Chelsea, the hardest part was watching the effects of isolation on her residents. It was also difficult because most facilities have been short staffed for a long time and over the years, the work has kept piling up on CCAs. When the pandemic hit, there wasn’t any extra time in the day yet they were expected to do even more. She and her colleagues did their best to get through the pandemic as a team. It was emotionally devastating to watch the residents' morale sink without their family visits, however, she had the most amazing moments watching her residents getting to see their family again when the restrictions were lifted.
At the beginning of the pandemic, co-horting was a difficult reality as that added to the issue of short staffing, but she is thrilled that life is starting to slowly go back to a “new normal." Emotionally, Chelsea and her coworkers are feeling better but life was difficult while restrictions were in full effect. They felt as safe as could be expected during the pandemic with their PPE, the shelter of being in a small town and each other to lean on.
She would like CCA wages to be re-evaluated based on what their job entails and feels CCAs just don’t get paid enough for what they do. If we want staff to care for our seniors, this job needs to be manageable and keep up with the cost of living or there will be no one left to do the job.
Chelsea, we know you did your absolute best in the scariest time in recent history for many. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being there for our seniors.