Toni Shreves | Director
Why did you choose a career path in senior healthcare?
I wanted to be a nurse when I was a little girl. In my early 20’s I began working as an STNA and loved working with the elderly. It didn’t feel like a job to me. I decided to go to school to work toward an RN degree. I have held different positions in healthcare but working at an Assisted Living is my calling. I love spending time with residents and getting to know them. If I can make them smile, I have accomplished what I set out to do. Making their life meaningful and enjoyable, makes mine meaningful and enjoyable.
Name your best work moment.
I have so many. One that really stands out in my mind was with Bill. He was married to Mabel, she had dementia, and he had end stage COPD. He needed to admit Mabel to our Memory Care unit and he moved into our Assisted Living. Bill had a very hard time visiting her or even getting out of bed when he arrived due to his shortness of breath. He was placed on Hospice shortly after arriving to the AL. One afternoon, the hospice nurse called me back to Bill’s room where he was actively dying. Grasping the bed rails and gasping for air, I sat down beside him and held his hand. He was so short of breath that he couldn’t speak. I assured him that it was okay to let go. I told him that we would take care of Mabel and then I saw the panic in his eyes disappear. His breathing slowed as he held my hand and a calmness came over him and he stopped breathing. I held his hand for a while. I can’t quite put into words the feeling that came over me. I went and sat with Mabel for the rest of the afternoon. I didn’t tell her anything about Bill, she wouldn’t have known what I was saying. I just talked with her.
What do you look most forward to at work?
I look forward to seeing my residents and co-workers every day. We are one big happy family! I feel it every time I walk in the doors. This doesn’t feel like work.
Name some of your favorite things to do outside of work.
I love to go hiking and kayaking. I spend most of my weekends outside doing one or the other. Sometimes both. I have a goal that I have set for myself recently. I am going to purchase a VW bus and ‘hippie’ it out. I will use it for traveling and vacationing and going to get groceries. So, you may see my one day in my VW bus, with a couple of kayaks on top, driving into the great unknown.