Elder care is a family affair for Jensen women


Nikki Jenson, center, is a wellness nurse at Sonata Viera. Her daughters Taylor, left, and Kaitlyn are home from college during the pandemic. They are helping at Sonata Viera as temporary servers during the crisis.

Photo by Tonya Morales

If you have to get old, you couldn’t do better than to do so while associated with Nikki Jensen and her family.

“We’ve always all had a soft spot for older people,” said Jensen.

The Viera LPN, who works the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift at assisted living facility Sonata Viera, routinely takes care of residents’ minor medical issues, such as performing blood pressure readings and doing minor wound care. For the 90-plus Sonata residents who cannot risk leaving the complex or welcome outside visitors because of COVID-19 regulations, Jensen is a welcome connection with the outside world.

Two more Jensen women are also tending to “Sonatans” during the pandemic. After colleges shut campuses because of coronavirus, Jensen’s daughter Kaitlyn, 21, joined younger sister Taylor, 18, in food service duties at the facility. Taylor, who for the past year has been working during college breaks from Florida Southwestern University in Ft. Myers is showing her sister, who attends the University of Central Florida, the ropes. Both sisters play softball at their respective colleges. Kaitlyn plans to follow her mother’s footsteps in nursing, while Taylor is still deciding on career plans. 

The girls deliver meals and snacks to residents in their rooms since the dining room is closed because of the pandemic. 

“Whenever they can, they stop in to sit with some of the residents,” said Jensen.

“The residents really appreciate that. It’s been really hard for them. Their families can’t come in to visit and they can’t go out. They have to eat in their own rooms. They’re still taking it really well, considering.” 

Sonata is extremely careful in keeping residents safe. 

“All the residents and staff are tested regularly,” said Jensen.

Whenever they report for work, Jensen and her daughters, like the rest of the staff, have their temperature taken before starting. Their temperature is re-checked halfway through their shift. Adherence to CDC guidelines that include the wearing of masks and gloves is part of the routine.

Do the Jensens worry for their own safety?

“We don’t worry about ourselves, but we do worry about taking good care of the residents,” said Jensen.