Member Spotlight: Sarah Stanisz of Arbor Springs

April 7, 2022

Sarah Stanisz became interested in geriatrics in college and has worked in dementia-specific long-term care for over 22 years. As the education director at Arbor Springs in West Des Moines, where she has worked for almost 18 years, Sarah has learned life lessons while building long-term relationships with residents and their families.

How did you become interested in the long-term care profession?
In college, I knew I wanted to work in geriatrics somehow. I became a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and worked in a nursing home for a summer. Then, I completed my gerontology practicum in an Alzheimer’s care unit in a local long-term care facility. I absolutely loved it and felt like I had found my niche. They hired me to stay on after my practicum was completed. I have been working in dementia-specific long-term care for over 22 years, and I have been at Arbor Springs for almost 18 years.

What do you like most about working in long-term care?
There is no greater feeling than making a resident’s day. I enjoy making connections with the residents, the people with whom I work and the family members.

What would you tell others to encourage them to consider a career in long-term care?
It is the most rewarding career you can have. You will have the keys to someone’s quality of life in your hands, and you make a difference every single day, no matter what your role is. I have made connections with family members who, 20 years later, have remained friends. You can’t beat the relationships you develop.

What lessons have you learned working in long-term care that also help outside of work?
I think the profession has endless lessons. Don’t take time for granted. Take those trips you always wanted to take. Handle conflicts with family while you are still able to work things out or the guilt will carry on. Face trauma in your life no matter how hard, because otherwise it comes back with cognitive impairment when you lack the tools to process it.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy football and basketball games, and I love to read. I also watch way too much television.

What is your favorite quote and why?
“Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.” It reminds me to stay focused on the difference I can make and not get overwhelmed by things outside of my control.

More about the Member Spotlight
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