Utah Assisted Living Association’s Past President Describes ‘The Gift’ of Working with Seniors
“These seniors have a story and I aim to listen and retell it to continue their legacy.”
For Joe Huskinson, working with seniors is not a job, it’s a calling that he answered nearly a decade ago after 15 years of working as a registered nurse in Idaho.
“The greatest reason I have chosen to continue my career path in assisted living is because of the relationships you are able to build,” he explained.
Huskinson is the Director of Operations at Stellar Senior Living and operates four assisted living communities and one independent community out of Utah.
“I often tell future employees while hiring them that I will offer them a gift; this gift is working with seniors. Many times, we see the person who sits before us as a senior. I see a person who has lived a full life, who has had success, who has seen disappointment- a person who may be a veteran, pilot, or mechanic,” he explained.
Throughout his journey in the industry, Huskinson said assisted living has granted him a unique and revealing perspective on people and the circle of life.
“We have an opportunity to allow our seniors to continue doing the things they have in the past. We are there to offer a caring hand for support. By doing this, we are blessed in return with the love they share,” he added.
There have also been unforgettable moments with residents that have made a lasting impact, like trips to Mexico, SeaWorld, and Disneyland.
“While on this cruise, one of our residents stated, ‘I just want to ride on one more rollercoaster before I die.’ I got to experience that with her. Six months later, she was diagnosed with cancer. As I set by her bed while on hospice, she asked, ‘Joe, I just want to finish reading this book before I die.’ I took the opportunity to read to her each day for three weeks," Huskinson recalled.
"Two days after we finished the book, she passed peacefully in her sleep. This is the gift I previously described."
It’s memories like these that Huskinson will cherish forever and it’s what brings him to work every single day.
Huskinson also serves on the board of the Utah Assisted Living Association as UALA’s Past President.
The organization is devoted to caring for its members and focused on providing the tools needed to be successful.
“UALA, to assisted living, is like the North Star for a sailor. It gives guidance and direction in the storms of life,” he said.
With leaders and staff in every UALA member community making it their mission to go above and beyond for their residents, assisted living is truly a special place with many more memories to be made.
“These seniors have a story and I aim to listen and retell it to continue their legacy!”