Editor’s Note: McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News are profiling the McKnight’s 2021 Women of Distinction honorees daily July 6 through Aug. 9. To see the 2021 McKnight’s 2021 Women of Distinction awards ceremony, register for free here.
Christiana Bonsu started in the senior living industry as a caregiver and subsequently has risen to second-in-charge of a fast-moving, challenging community of residents who all have challenges related to Alzheimer’ disease and other forms of dementia.
Born in Ghana, Bonsu moved to Maryland and began a caregiving job. She later became a nursing assistant and went on to study to become LPN, which she became in 1993.
She started as an assisted living coordinator at a Sunrise Senior Living community in Chevy Chase, MD, where she worked for 22 years. In 2016, she began her new job as director of resident care at Five Star Senior Living’s Somerford Place Columbia in Columbia, MD, the memory care community where she still works.
With years of caregiving experience under her belt, Bonsu is able to understand what it takes to give residents proper care, as well as some of the challenges that the confronting staff members face working in memory care. She “believes in her team members, she encourages them, and helps to create a sense of community among them,” says Judi Beyer, Bonsu’s coworker and program director at Somerford Place.
Bonsu has been able to successfully retain staff members despite COVID-19 challenges this past year, an impressive feat considering the levels of stress involved in the memory care field even during typical years. Her efforts contribute to the senior living community’s “stellar” reputation in the greater community and internally, Beyer says.
Bonsu now is pursuing an RN degree to expand her knowledge base and to provide an extra level of personal care.
When she is not working, she makes time to volunteer for various charitable organizations. She also enjoys supporting the various sports teams of her three children, who are attending college in separate states.
The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare, and the Roundtable Sponsor is Paycor.