Member Spotlight: Than LoVan of Longhouse-Northshire

February 26, 2020

Than LoVan began working in the laundry department of Longhouse-Northshire in 1981, three months after moving to the U.S. from her home country of Laos. Than says working at the facility helped improve her ability to speak English and adjust to life in America. Almost 39 years later, Than still enjoys caring for and building relationships with residents.

How did you get started in the long-term care profession?
I came from my home country of Laos to Spencer, Iowa on Jan. 14, 1981. I came to Spencer because my whole family moved to the U.S., including my parents and siblings. Doctor James Woolsey, a friend of Jim Manzer, had sponsored my parents to come to the U.S. Mr. Manzer, the administrator and owner of Longhouse-Northshire Care Center, helped me start working in the housekeeping and laundry departments in April of 1981, when I was 29 years old.

What do you like most about working in long-term care?
I like to work with the residents and staff around the facility and talk to them about how they are doing and what is happening that day. Talking about something that is new or different for them, or me, brings us close to each other and builds togetherness.

What would you tell others to encourage them to consider a career in long-term care?
I like to work around the residents, and I want others to also come to the facility to work and share their interests and joy of being around people. If you don’t have a job, we have a good group of residents that would enjoy you. I can say what joy I have from working every day in the care center.

What lessons have you learned working in long-term care that also help you outside of work?
When I first came to Spencer, I didn’t know English so by working at Longhouse-Northshire I learned the English language better. Gradually this helped my overall speaking ability with people outside of work.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy working outside with my yard and garden. I have enjoyed traveling back to my home country of Laos, as well as Thailand, Cambodia, North and South Vietnam, Canada, Mexico and the states of California and Tennessee where my children and relatives reside. When I retire, I want to be a volunteer.

What is your favorite quote and why?
Don’t let anything bad make you feel bad because a bad thing or a good thing will not stay long. I do good things to others because I want people to be good and nice to me.

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