Helena Case: Deep Respect for Those in Her Care
Helena Case, a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA), has always been drawn to the elderly because of the close relationship with her grandmother that she formed in her childhood. She reminisces, “We spent weekends at her house when my mom worked. During the summers we spent long periods of time with her cooking, baking, and gardening.” She remembers tender moments of applying sun lotion and taking care of her grandmother, doing what she “thought a nurse would do.”
She always wanted to be a nurse and remembers her parents urging that it would be a good career choice for her caring demeanor. “I grew up in Kent and visited my older neighbor, Carrie, after school each day. I couldn’t wait to get off the bus, change out of my school clothes, and walk the dog. Then I went to Carrie’s house and we played War and Rummy.” She continues, “I’ve always felt comfortable with the elderly. I melded with them and I think they made me feel good about myself and I helped to brighten their day.” Helena holds a deep elder respect for the lives they’ve lived and how hard they’ve worked. She is sympathetic to how alone they might feel at times.
Helena began her career at Noble Horizons at the age of 17 as a dietary aide. At 21 she earned her CNA degree, worked full time at health care organizations in the area, and raised her four children (she now has three grandchildren). “I always wanted to go back to school but didn’t want to take more time away from my family.”
Recently, she returned to Noble and has begun the medical assistant program at Northwest Connecticut Community College, making the Dean’s List and Phi Beta Kappa this year. She sees social work as a potential future step. “I can see where people need more help and where the gaps are.”
For now, she is fully present to her work at Noble, which on any given day can take her to different floors. “The residents deserve our best. Sometimes, we’re the only ones they have.” Because she moves throughout Noble she maintains an ideal of care that guides her work, “You have to remember what your purpose is: To help them live the best life they can while they’re here. The people I’ve cared for hold a special place in my heart and I think about them all the time.”
Helena reflects on what makes a good CNA. “Empathy is so much of the work. I’m here for the people I care for. They deserve the best. I focus on their needs and stop everything else while I’m with them. I try to not let anything that’s bothering me to follow me in the door and be the best person I can be for them. Then there’s love, compassion, and patience--all those pieces have to fit together.”
She’s philosophical about where her life has led her and her work with the elderly. “Everything comes full circle. People are put in your life for a reason.” Noble Horizons is grateful that Helena’s ‘full circle’ has brought her back to Noble and the residents she so loves.