Making a Difference through Caregiving
For as long as she can remember Rebecca Liffrig always knew she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. After completing her second year working as a CNA caring for older monks at a Catholic Abbey connected with her college, she knew she wanted to learn more and dive deeper into caregiving this summer.
“I thought of Jayne Clairmont right away. I knew I needed to contact her,” said Liffrig.
Liffrig was first introduced to English Rose Suites when her grandfather lived at English Rose Suites while Liffrig was in high school. After living at English Rose Suites for a period of time, the distance from Edina to Bismarck became too much for the family, they decided to move her grandpa back to Bismarck to be closer to family and hired Jayne Clairmont to serve as her grandpa’s family care consultant throughout the rest of his dementia journey. With her grandpa back in Bismarck, Liffrig became very involved in her grandpa’s care, learning a lot about caregiving from Clairmont.
Experiencing moments like these is what gave Liffrig the passion and drive to use her CNA certification to make a difference in people’s lives.
“When I went to college I sought out ways to use my CNA and found an amazing opportunity to work at a Catholic Abbey connected with my college. For the past two years I have cared for older monks. It truly has been such a gift to serve those men. I find a lot of life through caregiving,” said Liffrig.
Enriching Experience with English Rose Suites
“Right off the bat, I was very struck in my training on the emphasis placed on excellence in caregiving. My experience here really gave me a hands-on look at the crucial importance of a teamwork approach to elder care,” said Liffrig.
She continued, “English Rose Suites does a great job at getting the family, staff members, nurses, and therapists all on the same page for care goals and approaches. I never quite realized what a big ship an individual’s care is to manage and how much work goes into just communicating; let alone the actual care. It was truly inspiring to see an organization have an authentically holistic approach to care.”
In addition to caregiving, Liffrig also had the opportunity to help take the residents to the Montessori school for a petting zoo day, a pontoon boat ride and to the Edina 4th of July parade. Those moments were so special with the residents and such an important part of providing joy in the lives of the residents.
Another thing Liffrig really emphasized about her experience with English Rose Suites was how much time in training is spent going over the specifics of dementia whether it be the different types, diagnosis, and progression and how it affects individuals different.
She said she learned a lot about the communication styles used to engage residents at varying points along their disease process. She said it takes a lot of creativity but is so worth it knowing how to make others feel, seen, and heard even when they may not be verbal themselves anymore.
“I had a phenomenal experience at English Rose Suites. I really loved it. I am forever grateful for having this experience and learning in an environment that has such a passion for person-centered care like English Rose Suites,” said Liffrig.
Bright Future Lies Ahead
This fall Liffrig will return to school at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas and will graduate with degrees in Psychology and Theology in May. Following graduation, she plans to attend Occupational Therapy school next fall.
“After attending grad school, I hope to return to North Dakota and work in the geriatric field. My long-term dream would be to open a home similar to English Rose Suites. I see so much value and fruit in the work while creating a respectful and comfortable place for people to finish their lives,” said Liffrig.
She also mentioned she like the idea of Adult Day places and could see herself opening a place to support caregivers and their aging loved ones.
“The elderly have a lot of worth and our society needs to be reminded of that fact. I want to do my part in creating a culture that values the elderly,” said Liffrig.
If one thing is for sure, Liffrig reminds us the next generation of caregivers, nurses, gerontologists, doctors and others truly have their heart in the right place. We can’t wait to see what your future has in store. Rebecca, thank you!