Working in Clark County: Jessica Pacora, Resident Care Manager at Touchmark in Fairway Village

I saw that it was wreaking havoc. These residents are some of the strongest people I have ever met – they’ve been through so much in their lives. For the first time, I saw some of them burst into tears. It’s hard to see. You want to wrap them in a big hug and help them feel better. But you can’t replace someone’s family member. I hope that as the vaccines come out and go through this new year, we can begin to bring their families back and further enrich their lives.

What attracted you to this profession?

During my last year of high school, my grandfather got sick and had a stroke. He was practically unresponsive in the hospital. I sat down to talk with his nurse at the time; she asked me what interested me. I told her I was thinking about caregiving. She looked at me, and in front of my grandfather she said, “Don’t do this, it’s a dirty job. My grandfather, his eyes snapped open and he gave her the meanest look I had ever seen him give to anyone. It was then that I knew I wanted to be a nurse, because I wanted to give people the care they deserved. I don’t want people to be treated by someone who has that point of view. When I have a difficult day, I think about this moment.

There have been discussions of insensitivity around the elderly and COVID-19. Did you hear something like this and what do you think?

I’ve certainly heard my fair share of comments like, “Well, if they’re vulnerable, why don’t they just stay inside so that we can live our lives? It’s really hard to hear, especially as someone who works with retired people because they have so much wisdom to share. Their life should be just as valued at the end of their life as it is at the beginning of their life. I think in this pandemic people don’t think about the fact that retired people are still people. They still have the same wants, wants and needs as a person in their twenties. You cannot lock up all your nurses, doctors and caregivers who also care for this population. It’s a challenge, but I think people really need to take a step back and say to themselves, “What would I want for my parents, grandparents or great-grandparents? “

Have Touchmark employees or residents in Fairway Village ever been vaccinated?

Yes, so we have two parts of the building: licensed and unlicensed. The licensees received their vaccines a few weeks ago. They come back for their second dose. The participation of residents was incredible. We told them we started at 11 a.m. and had a socially distant line at 9 a.m. They were so ready. We kept telling them to come home, we’ll come back and pick you up when it’s time. The cheers and the support, you could feel the energy moving the building that day. It gave us a lot of hope. I really hope this vaccine will allow my residents to get their lives back on track.

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