Teresa Carter always had a feeling she would work as a service provider to older adults. It took until her 40s, though, to pursue a career in nursing and realize her calling. 

“It was always in the back of my mind to seek out this type of work,” the certified nursing assistant says. “I took the three-month nursing class, took the state exam and got my certificate.”

Teresa applied to work at The Danish Home senior living community in the Norwood Park neighborhood of Chicago after a brief stint at a larger residence in Skokie. She joined the staff of The Danish Home in 2001 and has been there ever since.   

“It’s a small place, and I just really like that,” Teresa says. “I have a close and affectionate relationship with residents.” 

Teresa sees every one of The Danish Home’s nearly 40 seniors daily. She provides encouragement while safely helping residents get in and out of bed, transferring them to wheelchairs, and tending to their needs in the Gathering Room. 

“She has such a kind way with residents,” says Debi Lathom, residence counselor at The Danish Home. “It’s wonderful to watch.”

Teresa is a lifelong Chicagoan and now lives on the North Side. A self-described “homebody,” she makes a 25-minute drive to work each day for her 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. shift. Outside of work, she’s a devoted member of her place of worship. 

The Danish Home is such a unique and historical setting that Teresa struggled to find the front door when she first arrived. She describes the atmosphere as “homey” and appreciates the bonds she has with staff, including upper management. Family is a word that comes up several times when speaking with her. 

“There isn’t any one big experience that drew me to this work,” Teresa says, “other than the love and care of fellow human beings. This type of work is not something that everyone could do. There would have to be a special place in your heart to draw you to stay in this kind of work, as well as just being there at The Danish Home. It’s just a nice place to be at work.”