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When Linda Ross, RN, retired recently, her last day was a happy day – the perfect ending to her career. As Clinical Director at Ecumen Prairie Lodge, Linda’s specialty was creating happy days – especially for residents in memory care.
“Beyond a doubt, Linda is one of the very best nurses I have ever worked with,” said Janelle Meyers, a former Executive Director at Ecumen Prairie Lodge, who hired Linda seven years ago. “She always sees the good in people. She’s so open-minded and truly gifted at working with people with dementia. Linda is someone who is totally comfortable in the gray areas.”
She will be especially remembered as a teacher and trainer with a unique style. She loved helping staff learn the finer points of dementia care by dramatically and explicitly playing the part of someone with dementia. “She’s an awesome actor,” Janelle said.
“Linda’s dementia training was a highlight of mine,” said Executive Director Jodi Saeko. “She acted out what she wanted us to learn. Linda had gifts and talents that will not be forgotten here at Prairie Lodge, and she will be missed for her love for people. We wish her the best journey into retirement. She so deserves it.”
“She made everything fun,” added Paula Okerstrom, the Human Resources Specialist at Ecumen Prairie Lodge. “She loved the residents and loved what she did. She was passionate about everything.”
Michael Ashworth, the Life Enrichment Supervisor, said: “She knew how to find people’s strengths, no matter what dementia had taken away from them. She knew how to cheer people up. She was always friendly, always composed and treated people really well.”
By all accounts, Linda’s retirement party was amazing. Several Resident Assistants from countries in West Africa performed a traditional dance with Linda and presented her with a robe and head dress as a thank you.
Forrest Christofferson, the husband of a resident, wrote a song for her called “Linda’s Tune,” and sang it for her at the party. [Lyrics below.]
“She enjoyed the party a lot,” Michael said. “She danced the whole time.”
Thank you, Linda, for your service and for all the fun, happiness and exceptional care you brought to residents and staff. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement. Ecumen honors you!
Linda Oh! Linda
We know what’s in ya
It’s a great big heart
That sets you apart
You cared for our Lov’ed ones
You answered our call,
Linda Oh! Linda
You care for us all.
We’re so glad we met you
We will never forget you
We know you’re leaving us soon
But wherever you go
We want you to know
We’ll always be singing this tune