Ali Nesman, Activities Coordinator and LNA
Building lifelong connections and friendships as an LNA
When Ali Nesman moved to the Seacoast, she was on the hunt for a new position closer to her new home. She soon applied to the Edgewood Centre. Surprised to hear from a human resources team member only a few days later, Ali was welcomed to the facility for an interview and a tour.
“I received a tour from Donna in HR and right away was impressed with the facilities. The piano and fireplace in the common area helped add to its extra homey feel. During my tour, Donna shared that she too was an LNA, as were the individuals in administration – even the president – which means they could easily jump in at a moment’s notice to help the LNAs on the floor. At that moment, I knew I wanted in.”
Ali has been with the Edgewood Center for 10 years and now serves as the activities coordinator for the residents, while also remaining active as an LNA.
“Edgewood feels like family. Some of my coworkers have been here for 20 plus years and many of their children have attended our on-site Early Learning Center, so I’ve been able to not only connect with my coworkers (I met three of my core best friends through Edgewood), but their kids too.”
The relationships that Ali has built are unique and special and include bonding with residents as well.
“A resident once attended my wedding and our rehab department worked with him to help him walk and dance, so he was ready for my big day. Mine was the second Edgewood wedding he attended – he was a very outgoing man who really loved bonding with his LNAs and showing his appreciation for all that they do by joining them on their special day.”
Ali took a special interest in another resident who was a former musician and would assist her with the music and memory program at Edgewood.
“He is the posterchild for the music and memory program and early on he was truly my music planning partner. He would help me find entertainers because he has a lot of friends who are musicians and when they would visit, they would play music with him. Now many of his friends have become regular entertainers at Edgewood and play for all the residents monthly. He taught me about the different types of music and would make suggestions to residents who’d have an interest in Frank Sinatra for example but wanted to hear something similar, yet new.”
As an activities coordinator, Ali is very interested in discovering the residents’ passions and finding activities that they are particularly drawn to. But she is not alone – her coworkers share her enthusiasm and seek to find new and creative things for them to do.
“One of our maintenance men discovered that one of our residents is an artist. She hadn’t been practicing her craft lately, but he took the time to sit with her and encourage her. Sometimes they would sit there in silence, taking in all the brush strokes together as she worked on her special work of art. It was really heartwarming to see – it made this particular resident light right up.”
Edgewood employees build on each other’s strength with the common goal of helping each and every resident. This extends to residents helping each other as well.
“Discovering one’s ancestry through Ancestry.com was a hot topic that one of our residents took a liking to. One of our social workers worked with him to get him going. He soon became the ancestry pro at Edgewood and is now offering his services to his fellow residents whom he’ll interview and then help find their history through the site.”
It’s all about teamwork at Edgewood and keeping it fun for the residents in an open minded and friendly environment.
“We really bond with our residents and get excited about the stories they share on what they have accomplished in their lives – some well before the age of 30 and others later in life. One of our residents had eight children and decided to go back to college at the age of 60 for her nursing degree. It’s really inspirational to hear the different path that each individual took in their lives. It’s a great reminder that the path that each of us takes can and will be different and that is okay.”
Ali has learned a lot from her coworkers, her residents and from Edgewood over the past decade.
“If a resident hasn’t been eating well, a member of the dietary department will offer to make a special sundae to help with their appetite. The resident will then become so happy that they will call their family to tell them all about it. This tiny gesture will make their whole day and that’s an incredible feeling. It’s also an amazing example of how important the little things are in life.”
Reminded daily of how much the little things matter, Ali has grown with the Edgewood Centre and has a greater appreciation for the many beauties of life.
“I now look at my life and appreciate every moment a little more, and the people that are a part of it – family, friends, coworkers and my residents. I have built connections and lifelong friendships at Edgewood. That’s what it’s all about and I am grateful to be part of it.”