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Aster Estates aide shares information during special month
From left to right: Doris Johansen, Betty Curtin and Pat Stonebreaker decorate a milk can for Christmas at Aster Estates. Johansen and Stonebreaker live at the home-plus residence; Curtin is a certified nurse’s aide there.

As a certified nurse’s aide (CNA), Betty Curtin had cared for senior citizens in traditional long-term-care settings for about 10 years.

But nothing has been as “gratifying” as her work at Aster Estates, 155 NW 10th Ave, a short distance north of 24th & McKinley in Great Bend.

Curtin wanted to share information about this home-plus residence during November, which is National Long-Term-Care Awareness Month.

“The priority at Aster Estates is helping our guests remain at their highest level of independence,” Curtin said. “We do this by creating an atmosphere that encourages personal relationships with staff and housemates in a safe and happy environment.”

The best parts of her job are “providing friendship and listening to the residents’ stories. We all want someone to listen to us, and believe me, they have great experiences to share. I just love older people. I was meant to care for them and this is the ideal setting.”

Since Aster Estates serves a small group of residents, there is plenty of time for making personal connections, Curtin said.

“I not only want to listen to our guests, I have the time to listen,” she said. “There are many opportunities for one-on-one conversations. In a traditional long-term-care setting this kind of time is limited because one CNA might be helping about 15 people instead of just a few.”

While Curtin builds a rapport with each resident, she also offers help with personal hygiene and other daily activities.

However, most people want to do as much for themselves as possible, she noted.

For example, guests may not need help getting dressed but appreciate Curtin and other CNAs who lay out their clothes.

“They want to get dressed on their own and we encourage them to do so,” Curtin commented. “But we are right here if they need any kind of help at all. We want everyone to be as happy and independent as they can be.”

Pam Lewis, Aster Estates owner and registered nurse, commended Curtin and other staff members for making Aster Estates a real home.

The other CNAs are Ciera Depenbusch and Jena Shelton. Gracie Guereca is a certified medication aide. A part-time registered nurse also is on staff.

“Betty Curtin and her colleagues do a great job of caring for our guests,” Lewis said. “This truly is a home environment. Our home-plus setting allows us to tend to your individual needs, while you remain in control of your life.”

Sometimes, it is the simple things that mean a lot. For instance, Lewis said, some people like their towels and clothes folded a certain way.

“We ask about likes and dislikes early on,” Lewis said. “And then we accommodate our guests so they can feel at home.”

Aster Estates has 3,600 square feet of living space that offers privacy and social interaction. The residence was totally remodeled and most suites have either full baths or half baths.

Other features include: three home-cooked meals a day and snacks; swimming pool for water aerobics and relaxation with supervision; fishing pond; outdoor pool table and firepit; and large outdoor sitting/activity area.

Staff members are available to provide transportation and attend doctor’s visits. Lewis and her mother live at Aster Estates.

For more information, call 620-617-4281.