How did you discover your passion to work with elders?
My passion for working with elders started when I was very young. I wanted to be a nurse. I was scared, lacked confidence in myself and was not encouraged to follow through with this dream. Many years later I had the opportunity to work with seniors at a home health company. I visited assisted living and senior housing communities/ facilities where I played games with the residents and showed them our home health services. I found it so enjoyable to see their eyes light up when they played games with me. I started going to a facility a couple times a week to help fill in as their activity director. After some time, I was told that the activity director would not be returning, and I applied for the position. The rest is history! I worked at this facility for 3 1/2 years prior to joining Park Place in Winghaven almost 3 years ago. I now have the position of Director of Memory Care and am still having fun with the residents!
Can you tell us about an emotional/important time in your career with elders?
Working with residents who have Alzheimer’s is challenging and yet so rewarding. I love this level of care. It is always the least amount of attention, love, care, and laughs that go such a long way. I think the most emotional part in this field is when residents succumb to this horrible disease. My very first experience with this brought me to my knees and I still carry this resident in my heart.
What do you love about working in the senior living industry?
Most of my residents are ages that my own mother would be if she had lived longer. I choose to treat residents as though “they are my mother” and love them. I want our residents to truly have fun every day and experience new things. And if for a brief moment they remember and connect with something, that is the icing on my cake for the day!
What is your life philosophy and/or a quote that’s meaningful to you?
There are so many quotes from Mother Teresa that I love.
“There are no great things, only small things with great love.”
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.”
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
My philosophy is that life is short. Enjoy the journey and have fun! Have compassion!
What are some of your hobbies and/or things you love to do?
I love gardening, raising Monarch butterflies, and working with stained glass.