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Careers in Aging Week - Meet Ron!

April 21, 2021
Categories: Our Community

Ron Totten
Communications Technician

A trip to my uncle’s in Redding, California is what officially pushed me in the direction of the phone business. He had a pool and a boat; at 16 years old, it didn’t really get much better than that in my mind. The phone business was booming at the time and I’d always had an inclination towards electronics, but this moment really sealed the deal for me in getting my start working with phones. I could not have known then the joy I would experience could fill me up so much more than any pool or boat could.

I had been working with phones for 24 years when I applied to work for Panorama in 2013. The company I was working for prior was bought out and I was laid off. The job posting at Panorama stood out to me when I noticed I was familiar with the telephone system that was being used and I believed myself to be a good fit. At the same time, my own grandparents were in the end-of-life stages and I saw first-hand how difficult aging can really be. When I had my first interview it became clear to me that it would be more than just working on a phone system - this was my opportunity to pay it forward and honor my grandparents and others in similar life stages.

It’s been a great feeling coming to work knowing it isn’t just customer service we’re bringing to this population. You really get to know these residents in ways you might not in other customer service positions. Stopping by their homes to fix their phone isn’t just a quick hi & bye. We get the chance to really learn about them and their families and they get to learn about our lives just the same. There’s a spectrum of careers and experiences that lives within these residents and they’re always willing to share that with us.

On more than one occasion I have mistaken some of the residents for being younger than they appear. I’ve guessed them to be in their early 70’s, then they tell me they’ve just had their 90th birthday party. That’s when I became aware of the impact made by the quality of life residents experience at Panorama. It’s impressive how long people live here and it’s true what they say - stress ages you. The lifestyle residents find here touches almost every aspect of their lives and creates a stress free environment in which they ultimately thrive. In my previous job, I’d go into work knowing I would almost always find myself in a high stress situation. Here, you rarely come across anyone having a bad day. This was eye opening for me and taught me not to sweat the small stuff, one of my biggest lessons from working in the aging services field.

There’s a sense of family at Panorama that I couldn’t have foreseen when I first applied. The residents and the staff treat each other so well and with the upmost respect; I’ve never seen anything like it. What might seem simple or small to us in what we do makes a world of difference for them. Their ability to be grateful and revel in those small things makes my role feel less and less like a job every day. If you’re thinking about entering the aging services field, all it takes is patience, understanding and a willingness to listen.

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