By Julie Ann Madden
She’s helped patients deal with their life’s situations for more than 31 years — at the Akron Community Hospital, Akron City Convalescent Care Center and the new Akron Care Center.
Now it’s time for her to make her own transition from employee to retiree.
Akron Care Center Social Worker Becky Borchers announced her resignation last month with the understanding she would work through her replacement’s training.
A Retirement Open House will be held 2 – 3 p.m., Thursday, April 27 at the Akron Care Center, 991 Hwy 3. All are invited to celebrate this milestone with Borchers.
She began her career at the hospital facility as the Activities Director. Within a couple of years, Borchers transitioned into the Social Worker position. Borchers continued as the hospital was closed and the nursing home expanded at the 121 South St. location and finally to the current brand-new facility. She also is a Social Worker consultant at Hawarden Regional Healthcare, a Care Center contract arrangement.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the Care Center staff,” said Borchers, noting some staff eventually became nursing home residents. “I enjoyed the longevity of many of the staff here.”
“I enjoyed working with (past Care Center Administrator) Jerald Dykstra for over 20 years,” she said. “He was very compassionate, caring, empathetic — always went the extra mile. He taught me a lot about dedication.”
“I’ve really appreciate working with (current Administrator Alan Bruinsma),” she said. “He’s very progressive, supportive, very wise and knowledgeable. He’s been a real pleasure to work with and I’ve learned a lot from him as well.”
“I’m very proud of being part of developing and implementing the new Care Center,” said Borchers. “We have a long waiting list of people who want to get in here.”
“I’ll never forget Moving Day,” she said. “We had a line of cars from this place all the way back to the old nursing home of friends, family, staff who were helping make that transition quick and smooth.”
During the move, people came and sat with residents while others entertained them with music to try to make this as easy and smooth as possible, she said. It was a quick, organized move.
“All the residents and staff were moved in by lunch time,” said Borchers. “It was amazing.”
She will also miss the residents — she has walked along side generations of families as she assisted their parents and now them and their children.
“The basic needs are still the same as when I started,” said Borchers.
“There was a fear of going into the nursing home,” she explained.
“A lot of times people living in the community have fears — that, maybe, they aren’t sharing with their family,” said Borchers, “and they also don’t want to give up their independence.”
“The fact is they are scared,” she said. “Scared of being alone. Scared of falling. Scared of tomorrow — what’s tomorrow going to bring? How am I going to get to here or there, get meals, or whatever? What if (my family, friends, community members) aren’t able to get back and help me with this or that?”
“There are a lot of fears people have who are living in a community but need nursing home placement,” said Borchers.
“I appreciate the fact we could assure them once they come in that those fears could be taken care of,” she said. “Over the years I’ve often had people come in very scared but once they were here, they realized it was a lot different than they expected and they were happy to be here.”
“Unfortunately, the image of nursing homes is still similar today,” said Borchers. “It makes me sad that people haven’t come to realize nursing homes are a good place.”
“There is socializing with peers, good meals, staff here 24/7 who really care about them,” she said. “In (our Akron Care Center), there are private rooms so they are able to keep many of the same perks they had when they were home — only better, improved. There is joy and fun.”
Borchers has acquired many grants and organized fundraisers for the facility that have benefited residents over the years. For example, the equipment in the Physical Therapy Room.
She’s proud of the Physical Therapy Department, which not only helps residents but community members needing skilled care — people no longer have to travel out of town for such services.
“I’m excited about the future of an Assisted Living attached to the back of this facility,” said Borchers. “There’s a real need for that in this town. By doing this, we’ll meet another group’s needs — needs that are not met now.”
“I’ll miss the residents, families and staff,” said Borchers who struggled when deciding when was the right time to retire as her 66th birthday approached. “I’ll miss the self-satisfaction I get when I help somebody with an issue or problem or help them work through a little bit of their grief of loss, fear of going home, or fear of staying in the nursing home. Whatever it is there is a lot of gratification from that.”
Borchers won’t miss the rigid-tough-but-necessary state inspections.
“I’m very proud of us getting a five-star rating,” said Borchers, noting the staff not only worked hard to achieve that goal but works as a team.
“I have witnessed many changes during my time here but must say I am most proud of our beautiful new facility, caring staff and wonderful residents,” said Borchers.
“I would be surprised if I didn’t come in to volunteer some, to stay involved,” said Borchers as she prepares to step into the next chapter of her life.
Topping her list of retirement plans is spending time with her family: husband, Dave; daughters: Heather and her husband, Jeff Morehead of Akron; and Holly and her husband, Weston Frahm of Plainview, Neb.; and her grandchildren: Trenten Morehead, age 6; Macy Morehead, 2; and Grayson Frahm, eight-months-old.
Borchers also plans to spend time at the lake, continue raising Sheltie dogs and travel with Dave.