Someone You Should Know: North Dakota Long Term Care Association President says it’s a privilege to hold position

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“Anything goes at Grandma’s,” that’s the slogan for Shelly Peterson’s family, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Her biggest passions in life all track back to her family.

“It’s just being a mom and a grandma. And a sister, a daughter, I mean that to me is probably the most precious thing,” she said. “I mean at the end of life, what do we think about? We think about our family.”

She lights up when she talks about her grandkids and the great outdoors. Those are her two favorite past times that she says are second to none.

But her profession is also pretty high up on that list, too.

“The idea of retirement is scary to me. It’s like, what would I do all day long? I love what I do. It’s not work to me, it’s a privilege.”

Peterson has been the President of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association for the past 31 years.

She said she always knew she wanted to advocate for and make changes that would impact others and that’s exactly what she does.

She said, “What better job than being able to advocate for them, being able to look at regulations and say, ‘Is there something we can be doing different, is there something we could be doing better?'”

The two primary purposes of the Long Term Care Association are; 1) to network and educate the providers and 2) to represent and lobby for the providers when needed.

Peterson and the association lobby for things like funding. One example this legislative session is a new payment program for nursing home residents, that hasn’t been updated since the 90s.

The President and CEO of Missouri Slope, says her hard work certainly doesn’t go unnoticed.

“What I’ve learned from her has been pretty invaluable,” Reier Thompson said. “She’s taught me the importance… throughout all aspects of my career… of being politically engaged in order to really achieve our mission each day which is to provide the best possible care for the residents and families that we serve.”

As expected, quite a bit has changed with the coronavirus.

She hasn’t been to a facility in a year, regional meetings to link up and learn from issues and successes within the 211 long-term care facilities in the state are on Zoom, discussions on vaccinations are at the forefront, and Peterson says people working and living in facilities have never been as stressed as they are now.

Instead of being consumed by the pressure, she says she still feels honored to work towards alleviating so much stress.

“I hope to have a few more years of the privilege of representing people that do, to me, God’s work in North Dakota. Day in and day out they care about the people that are entrusted to their care.”

With more than four decades in social work, an indescribable love for her family and determination … Shelly Peterson is Someone You Should Know.

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