Among the many long-tenured staff members at Harvest Hill is Housekeeping Manager Deb Baker, who recently celebrated her 20th work anniversary at the community.
In her wide-ranging role at Harvest Hill, Deb is happy to take care of anything that needs doing. During the pandemic, when restrictions prevented residents from visiting the dining room, she helped deliver breakfast and lunch to their apartments. Typical days, though, tend to stick to a schedule, she said.
“I come in, get my housekeeping equipment and start cleaning the common areas. I always say good morning to the residents, who are usually getting up and heading to breakfast around that time,” said Deb, whose two longtime employees, Joanne Rogers and Stacey Jorgensen, have been with her for 16 years. “We clean anything that needs it, and we also clean 14 apartments a day, working around residents’ schedules.”
“The residents we clean for are just awesome people,” she added. “A lot of them can’t wait to see us — some stay in their apartments so they can ask what our week or weekend was like. They just want to chit chat. Sometimes they’ll have a little list of things for us to help them with, whether that means getting a container off the top shelf, opening a jar of jam or helping them put on a shoe.”
Deb has had experience with the elderly from a young age, she said. The oldest of six children, she was brought up around her grandparents and great grandmother, and, as a junior high student in the 70s, she volunteered after school reading and making crafts with residents at the nursing home that used to be run by Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital.
Deb has been married for 20 years and has a stepson, Adam; two daughters, Jennifer and Carrington, both born at Alice Peck Day; and two granddaughters. When she’s not working, she enjoys crafting, gardening, researching family genealogy, birdwatching, and doing photography, her favorite hobby.
Deb shoots weddings, high school senior pictures, and maternity photos, but most of all, loves photographing wildlife. Recently, Harvest Hill’s activities director asked her to bring in some of her work for display and give a talk to residents.
“I’m also the person who takes photos of the residents during some of the activities, and I always take a photo of new residents when they first move in,” said Deb. “That photo and a little write up go into an album that’s kept in the library, so if another resident wants to know who a certain resident is, they can just go into the library, open up the photo album and see.”
Looking back at her time at Harvest Hill, Deb said, building relationships with the residents and helping them with what they need has been extremely fulfilling.
“I’m proud of the things I do here,” she said. “It’s so rewarding. I love working with the residents. I love their stories. They’re all like grandparents to me.”
All photos below were taken by Deb Baker.