Terrylynn Tidwell

I have been a CNA/nurse for 41 years. Never have I thought of myself as essential.

During this pandemic of 2020, I have discovered the meaning of essential through assisted living and memory care residents.

It is essential that when employees walk into this community, we leave our personal and family life at home. Residents are like family to us. It is essential that we show love and compassion behind our mask while keeping our distance. It is essential that we give them a smile with our eyes. It is essential to remind residents with dementia they have loving families who love and miss them.

We set up virtual visits and share phone calls with our residents’ family members. The local Weatherford community reached out to show support for our residents during a drive-by parade. One of our residents told me, “they did that for us.” It is essential we provide activities, movies, Bingo and an ear to listen. It is essential we provide a positive environment and share stories and laughter.

We are going through this together. Behind our assisted living and memory care community, we have nursing, dietary, housekeeping, laundry, maintenance and management teams working diligently 24-7 to put our residents first.

It is essential to hold the hand of a resident during end-of-life care to meet their needs of comfort and to pray with them. I had the distinct opportunity to recite the prayer of salvation with a resident who requested this of me. Above and beyond anything, I believe that was very essential.

As an essential worker, I can say I love my job, our residents and their precious families.

We have a fantastic team to work with here at Martin Crest, all of whom are now – more than ever – essential.

Terrylynn Tidwell is the wellness director of Martin Crest Assisted Living and Memory Care.

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