“In the summer, I would see the ladies sitting outside,” says Noemi. “I used to stop at the fence and look at them, not knowing I would become part of that world in my work life.”
That was in the late 1960s. Noemi was around ten years old. Less than ten years later, in 1980, her sister Elizabeth was working as a nurse’s aide at Chestnut Knoll and suggested Noemi apply for a job.
Noemi was hired as a waitress, serving our residents in the Chestnut Knoll dining room. She felt supported right away, and she enjoyed her colleagues.
Our infirmary at Chestnut Knoll served all forty-five residents when they were recuperating from an illness. Noemi was invited to transition from serving meals to working as a nurse’s aide in the infirmary. She took part in a course we offered on caretaking and made the move, becoming certified as a nurse’s aide in 1984.
“It comes natural to me to take care of people,” says Noemi.
We see that. Forty years later, caregiving remains the focus of Noemi’s life. She builds and nurtures her relationships here—with the older adults she cares for and with her co-workers.
At 63, she is poised to retire in two years. She has been with us since she was twenty-two.
Noemi says she has stayed with Glenmeadow all these years because the team members is caring, supportive, and dedicated. Many of our employees make similar statements. We are known as a Life Plan Community with very low team members turnover because members of our team feel valued here.
“The people at Glenmeadow—the team members—they are wonderful,” Noemi says. “Everybody is on the same page. We all get along together, and we explain things to one another. We get things done. We work as a team, and that’s what I like about it.”
Glenmeadow’s leaders “go out of their way for you and listen to you,” she adds. “It’s a good place to work—a Glenmeadow family.”
Noemi loved nursing as soon as she began caring for the women at Chestnut Knoll. They did not have family members who could check on them, so they relied on Noemi and our other team members members, and they trusted in us. “So, the job was rewarding,” she says.
“The ladies were happy with the work you did for them,” she adds. “They saw us all the time, and we became a part of their family and got connected to them. It’s like that now at Glenmeadow. Some people don’t have visitors, and residents look forward to seeing us and connecting to us. I like that part of my job—when you do something for somebody, and they’re happy with what you did. That’s fulfilling.”
Noemi also appreciates that Glenmeadow’s leaders take pains to ensure that the caretaking team members is not overwhelmed. The workloads are manageable. “It’s a relaxed place to work,” she says.
Even in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and still now, assistance was made available when the caretaking needs became more intense. “That takes stress off of us,” she says.
For many years in her career, though, Noemi did know a thing or two about stress—given that she worked two jobs to help her family make ends meet.
For fourteen years, until the year 2002, Noemi worked at the Springfield Newspapers in the mail room, inserting advertisements into daily newspapers and the Sunday paper. Her shift was 6 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Then her husband drove her to Glenmeadow, where she worked the overnight shift until 7 a.m.
Noemi still works the night shift. And she continues to excel at nurturing people on the job—and off. She cares for her 96-year-old father, running errands and managing his finances and household. She has been married for 45 years and raised three grown sons and five grandchildren.
“That’s what I care about,” she says. “That’s what’s important to me.”