Sheila Thomsen looking forward to new administrator position
Sheila Thomsen is the new administrator at Alta's Wel-Life and she is looking forward to her new challenge. She resides on a Linn Grove farm with her family.
Sheila has a college degree in social work and has worked extensively as a social worker with the elderly and has experience in the nursing home setting, has served as the case management coordinator at Northwest Aging Association and most recently she worked for the State of Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals making sure assisted living facilities throughout western Iowa were up to snuff.
She grew tired of the traveling. When the Wel-Life administrator position became available, it was just what she was looking for. "It was a perfect fit for me. I'm closer to home and I can continue to work with the elderly."
She has been on the job at Wel-Life since the beginning of March and she is already impressed. "I love it. The staff is wonderful and the residents are pleasant."
Sheila has set several goals to carry out. One of those goals is to see the facility and the community continue to carry out their relationship. She is thrilled to see that the weekly community coffee sponsored by the Alta Chamber of Commerce is held at Wel-Life. She would like to become even more available to the community and perhaps offer blood pressure checks for community residents during the coffees.
She enjoys working with the elderly. "This age group has wisdom, honesty and integrity. I want them to know that just because they are older they aren't going to be put up on a shelf. They still have a purpose. I'm hoping our residents feel like they have that purpose. We encourage our residents to be involved in the many activities we have here as much as possible. We also encourage them to be as independent as they are able"
As the administrator of the facility, there is a great deal of book work and reports to complete, but her favorite part of the job is spending time with the residents. She has been working hard to become familiar with the residents, and they, she said, are being very patient with her as she does that.
Sheila and her husband Paul have four children - Jada, 23, who will graduate from college in May; Tyler, 21, who will be getting married this summer and graduating from college in December; Kalli, 18, who will graduate from Sioux Central in May; and Courtney, 16, a student at Sioux Central.
Sheila is very involved in church work at Riverside Presbyterian at Linn Grove and is a member of the Praise Team.
She and her family have a cabin in Canada and they enjoy getting away when they can and love to fish. When she has spare time, she enjoys reading and cooking.
Sheila replaces Janelle Biggerstaff who left at the end of February due to health problems. Janelle had been at Wel-Life since its opening.
Kari Van Dam will serve as registered nurse at the facility
Kari Van Dam is starting her career at Wel Life as a registered nurse.
She brings several years of nursing experience tot he facility and is looking forward to working with the staff and residents.
Kari worked in several capacities at Mercy Medical Center for four and one-half years, spent three years at the Happy Siesta care facility in Remsen as the quality assurance coordinator and for the past year taught clinical nursing at Morningside College.
She will work at Wel Life on a part time basis completing the charting systems, offering in service classes for the employees and completing health assessments on each resident.
"I'm diving in head first," she laughed and is learning the routine quickly.
She enjoys having extra time to leave her office and visit with the residents. "I enjoy working with the elderly. I enjoy their stories they have to tell; they have so much to tell."
Kari and her husband Rich reside in Remsen with their two children - Tyler, 13, and Emily, 11, both students at Remsen Union.