CARBONDALE – When you choose a career and spend years – even decades – doing the same thing, you do so because you love it. For Dianne Bassett, spending 30 years as Director of Social Services of the Carbondale Nursing Home (CDH) has definitely been a job of love.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with people,” Bassett said recently.
“Originally, I thought of studying journalism, but I graduated from Elmira College with a double major in Psychology and Social Work because I care about and like to interact with and just be with people. I went on to get my Masters in Education and initially worked in day care systems then coordinated drug and alcohol programs in area school systems.
"When this nursing home position became available, it turned out to be such a good fit for me. It’s just hard to believe how time flies … I’ve been with the Carbondale Nursing Home for three decades, and I still love coming here every day!”
On August 22nd, Bassett’s co-workers arranged a surprise 30th anniversary party to celebrate her and their friend’s love of doing what she does best. “Dianne is an overly dedicated employee,” said Noelle Kovaleski, CDH’s Administrator. “She really does love this place, and she adores her patients. Our nursing home has 115 beds, Dianne knows each and every one of our patients, and she literally gives them her all.”
Planning, developing, organizing, evaluating, and directing the overall operation of Social Services at CDH, “Dianne also leads the interdisciplinary team in establishing each resident’s plan of care while they’re here. And with all she has to do, it’s never surprising to find her here late at night,” said Admission Director Karissa Cawley.
“Dianne is often here on her days off to check on things too, and she’ll stop by after hours to ensure the residents are A-OK. She’s naturally caring and thoughtful. So, whether it’s merely helping a patient fix their broken glasses or finding another’s mis-placed hearing aid, Dianne is there for everyone.” As a signboard alongside Bassett’s celebratory cake reiterated: “You’d be hard pressed to find another employee who embodies dedication and an exemplary work ethic the way Dianne does.”
Despite the long hours Bassett puts into her daily job, she and Carl, her realtor husband of 29 years, and their daughter, Erin, still make time to share their extracurricular interests. “I’ve always enjoyed the 60’s folk groups and play some guitar and piano, Carl also sings and is a drummer in the local Jeffrey James Band, and Erin’s a music teacher at the Preston School -- we all really love music. So, we’ll also catch as many Broadway musicals as possible,” added Bassett. And weather permitting, the Bassett’s also enjoy sharing fun in the garden and their love of animals. With two cats already at home, the family recently rescued year-old Riley, a lively chocolate Lab-mix.
In 1969, the former Grand Opera House and American Hotel on No. Main Street was rehomed as the original Carbondale Nursing Home. “Dianne’s initial office was on the basement floor in a room no bigger than a small closet,” said Cawley. “Her space was just big enough for a single filing cabinet, a small desk to hold her typewriter, and one chair. In 1998, Dianne and many other loyal employees relocated to our newly built facilities at 10 Hart Place.”
Looking back to 1988 when Bassett was hired at the CDH, the highest grossing Broadway show was ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ ‘Rain Man’ was the No. 1 box office hit, a postage stamp was only 24c, and the average cost of a new car was $10,400. “Times have definitely changed,” laughed Bassett, 60, “but I still love my job, and I do NOT plan to retire anytime soon!”