Daniel Frenden’s passion for caregiving started long ago. Growing up surrounded by older mentors, his ‘old soul’ related to the snippets of history that each of these individuals shared. Fast forward several decades, and Frenden now excels in the long term care field as a nursing home administrator, inspiring other health care professionals to become part of long term care.
Frenden’s path up the career ladder speaks to the encouraging culture that’s part of long term care. After graduating with a degree in social work, he began as a social services assistant director. His passion for helping others shone through every position he held, and now underscores his service as executive director at Life Care Center of New Port Richey. Frenden’s dedication and hard work were recently recognized when he was announced as the Nursing Home Administrator of the Year by the Florida Health Care Association.
Asked to describe the highlight of his work in long term care, Frenden names two: His love for the residents whose care he oversees and his close connection with the staff members who provide that care.
“In my role as an administrator, I’ve had 24 different staff members bring their loved ones to receive care in the centers I’ve managed,” he says. “My grandmother currently lives at the center I previously managed, and she’s been there for five years. I think that shows the sense of community among long term care staff – that we’re more than just a job and the patients are more than just a number.”
As in his days growing up around elders, one of Frenden’s favorite parts of his work is hearing and growing from the many things his residents have experienced over the years. Whether it was the first man on the moon or World War II, hearing about these events firsthand from those who experienced them in real-time is a true highlight. His admiration for those who surround him shines when he speaks about the residents – not only all that he has been able to offer them in support and grace, but also the love he has felt from them as well.
Despite the challenges that come with working in the long term care profession, Frenden knows that providing quality care comes with great team work and impeccable communication. Even though the job is difficult, leading a long term care center one of the fulfilling roles he has held. Watching the staff be a light in their residents’ daily routine is what makes this job so rewarding.
“In most jobs, you can’t say you impact an individual every day,” Frenden says. “We should feel proud of the work we do, and I say ‘thank you’ to all those working in the health care field, because we need every one of you.”