One Man’s Work Is Another Man’s Retirement

Junior Discusses Working at Retirement Home


Junior Alexander Gilsbach poses with Karl, a resident at the Lakeline Oaks Retirement Community where Gilsbach works. Gilsbach said the interesting stories residents tell will motivate him to remember his life experiences as well. “I’ve also learned to appreciate my time now, and to remember everything that I can – so many of our residents have fascinating stories, and they are always willing to share them with everyone.” (Photo Courtesy of Alexander Gilsbach)

Jaden Kolenbrander, Editor

The then-sophomore would have done any job. Two years later, he was playing piano for retirees, organizing Christmas Eve parties and learning about the little things that made a person’s day.

The Lakeline Oaks Retirement Community is where junior Alexander Gilsbach, who was then 15 years old, found work during his job search.

“I was initially looking for any job in general, though steering away from fast food places,” Gilsbach said. “Lakeline Oaks happened to be hiring, and accepted applications from people my age. As they say, the rest is history.”

In the retirement home, Gilsbach does various jobs to meet the needs of its residents. According to Gilsbach, this has allowed him to form bonds with his coworkers and learn about their interesting pasts.

Chef Zion was also one of my favorite coworkers,” Gilsbach said. “He was our sous chef, and was a bit of a jokester, but knew how to put business ahead of having fun with us. Because most of the servers are teenagers, he was always screwing with everyone, and we understood that the more he messed with you, the more he liked you. It was all good fun, this kind of thing happened all the time with Zion so we really miss him now.”

His job has also allowed him to interact with its residents and learn about their quirks or hear their storied lives.

By far the favorite resident is a lady named Mary,” Gilsbach said. “She is super super sweet to all the servers. When I started, she gave all the servers candy in lieu of tips, [since] we aren’t allowed to receive tips from the residents. Another favorite is definitely Bill. He served in the Air Force during the Cold War, and always has the most fascinating airplane stories to tell people.” 

Doing the little things that made people happy, according to Gilsbach, was exemplified in the time he played piano during its Christmas Eve party. 

Working at a retirement home has taught me that the littlest things mean a lot to other people,” Gilsbach said. “I used to play the piano there, [and] as little of a thing as it was to me, it became a huge thing for the residents, and many of them still ask me to play.”

As an aspiring aerospace engineer, Gilsbach said he still has learned many significant life lessons from working at the retirement home that he will apply elsewhere. 

I intend to take the work ethic and the focus on keeping people happy that I’ve learned at Lakeline Oaks wherever I end up working next, and use it in my day to day life,” Gilsbach said. “I’ve also learned to appreciate my time now, and to remember everything that I can – so many of our residents have fascinating stories, and they are always willing to share them with everyone.”