Kellie Karstensen poses for a photo with Village Woods resident Catherine Walter. Kellie has been serving residents at Village Woods for 21 years.
CRETE, IL (November 2015) — Kellie Karstensen, a Village Woods employee for more than two decades, has seen firsthand the challenges of caregiving – not only from her work as a CNA at the senior living community in Crete, Ill., but also as a family member. In honor of National Family Caregivers Month*, she shared her experience:
“It’s in a caregiver’s soul, to want to be there for the person who raised you,” Kellie said. “My mom was one of 16 kids. They tried so hard to care for my grandpa, who had Alzheimer’s, and my grandma, who had cancer at the same time. But it takes a lot.”
Seeing her family’s struggle and losing her grandparents at a young age played into Kellie’s career choice. “It’s like a family here at Village Woods,” she said. “I lost three grandparents when I was fairly young, so I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with them. Everyone here is like a grandma or grandpa to me.”
Kellie started in dietary department at Village Woods, while she was still in high school. In 21 years there, she has worked at the front desk, at the pool, and as a resident care attendant. She is currently serving as the Assistant Coordinator for Assisted Living.
“We have a great staff; there’s a lot of longevity,” Kellie said. “At this campus, we all become friends and family, caring for each other.”
Earlier this year, co-workers and residents nominated Kellie for the “Hallmark of Caring” award, honoring Providence Life Services employees whose compassion, heart, and skill make a difference. Her nomination form declared that “her kindness, gentleness and respect for each resident and co-worker are outstanding!”
Village Woods and Providence Life Services are proud to employ loving, dedicated caregivers like Kellie!
*This year, the theme for National Family Caregivers Month is Respite: Care for Caregivers. The task of caring for an aging parent, relative, or friend is stressful, and caregivers don’t always get breaks to care for themselves. Many Providence locations offer respite rooms for short-term stays. If you are (or know) a caregiver who needs time to rest and recharge, find more information on respite services here.