Nelson dedicates hours to providing care to at-risk community during COVID

Alana Amaya | Staff Writer

Riley Johansen | Editor-in-Chief

Junior Bella Nelson is required to wear scrubs and a face covering at work for residents’ safety.

Junior Bella Nelson has found a sense of community by engaging with one that has been isolated since March.

Since her sophomore year, Nelson has put a lot of dedication and time into her job as a housekeeper at the Mason Christian Village (MCV), an elderly community built to nurse and facilitate the elderly. Working around three to four days a week and sometimes even including weekends, Nelson does everything from cleaning the bathrooms to helping with the laundry. 

Though it may not be in her main job description, the real part of the job that Nelson values is interacting with the residents, an ideal she kept in mind when choosing housekeeping over dish and serving. Nelson prides herself on the fact that she sets a higher standard for herself by performing additional tasks for the residents over the ones she’s assigned since the first day she was given the job.

“Working is my favorite thing to do,” Nelson said. “I try to interact with the residents as much as I can because that’s why I love it so much. I love doing extra things for them and seeing how grateful they are.”

After working for such a long period of time, Nelson has had the opportunity to be able to speak to the majority of the residents of MCV, but has gotten particularly close with a couple of them. She dedicates extra hours of her time to not only the routine tasks that come along with the job, but to also investing in the people she aids along the way. 

“There’s one resident that I try to go to her apartment once a week or once every other week,” Nelson said. “I’ll just talk to her for an hour or two to see how she’s doing, and help her with whatever she needs help with.”

These relationships, especially in the time of a pandemic, are a priority for Nelson and greatly impact how she carries herself when she’s away from the workplace. Despite her choice to attend school in-person, her daily routine tends to be more isolated than one would expect. 

“I’m a lot more careful because of my residents,” Nelson said. “If I got one of them sick I would feel horrible. At school I’m always cautious and I keep to myself and stay in my little bubble. I always wear my mask out, even when other people don’t, and I’ll say something [to those who don’t]. I get tested twice a week at work, so I try to be as cautious as possible but I still worry.”

Towards the beginning of the pandemic when going through a difficult time, Nelson first turned to MCV to get away from the isolation she was feeling in her personal life, and have the chance to focus her time and energy into a group that were coping with the same feelings.

“Winter is a really hard time for me, just like it is for a lot of people,” Nelson said. “It’s cold, and you just get sad. I didn’t really have anyone or any friends so [Mason Christian Village] is just the place that I would go. I would work just as much as I can just so I can escape from reality.”

Using her job as an escape at first took an important role in the number of hours Nelson chose to work, but it has evolved into more than that. Nelson said that the main driving force behind her motivation to work is the faces that she gets to see and care for daily. 

Nelson’s hours are needed at MCV now more than ever, helping to give company to an at-risk community when contact with their loved ones is limited. Nelson has taken advantage of the opportunity to continue growing relationships with the residents with whom she shares a mutual respect.

“This summer I didn’t have anything to do, so I worked all the time,” Nelson said. “Even if I did have things to do, or people to hang out with, I’d rather be here. Just because they respect me so much there, and it’s a genuine relationship that I have with the people.”

COVID-19 affected many people in the working industry, but Nelson did not allow the pandemic to tear away the bond she had with her job and the important part it has taken in her life. If anything, Nelson believes that she values her occupation more than ever. 

“My favorite thing to do is be there,” Nelson said.“I couldn’t imagine quitting, [and] I know that COVID-19 is obviously so serious, but I still couldn’t imagine quitting because working is such a big part of my life. At first when I got the job, I didn’t expect it to [have] this big of an impact.”

This impact is something that Nelson will carry with her regardless of her job. The stories she looks forward to hearing daily have translated themselves into lessons that make her wise beyond her years.

“I think older people are obviously so much more wise than younger people,” Nelson said. “They’ve lived life so much longer than us, they give me so many life lessons without even realizing.”