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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Life as a Serial Caregiver

by Rita Files

When I tell people my caregiving career and love for the elderly began at the age of six they look at me in disbelief. As unbelievable as it sounds, it is true!

Before that time, my outdoor play had me confined to the front yard of my home. The world of play beyond my gate was something I longed for. When a person walked by I would run to the fence to see who it was and of course to say hello all the while longing to venture out to see the world through their eyes.

Sundays were especially interesting, I would see the” woman who lived down the street” (that is Elizabeth, NJ speak for neighbor) walk by on her way to church. She was a vision dressed in white with her wide brimmed straw hat. The contrast against her dark brown skin was striking and, I believed her to be, the most beautiful person I ever saw. The Lady in white fascinated me and she was 98 years old. I could barely count to 98.

Finally, the big day arrived and I was able to venture beyond the gates. I was able to explore the three short blocks of Geneva Street. Not long after my liberation from the yard, I was walking down the street and, there she was…the Lady in white, working in her garden. Since there is not a shy bone in my body, I walked up to her and said hello, my name is Rita. With that simple introduction, my career in eldercare began. I would visit with Mrs. Akin several times a week and ask a zillion questions, each of which she patiently answered, even if I asked the same question two or three times before. I was fascinated with her stories of the old south and her life experiences. I did not notice the color of her skin or her age. I only knew that she was beautiful and my very best friend.

My circle of friends grew to include two other 80+ year olds on Geneva Street who I visited regularly as well. Little did I know at this tender age, that my “girlfriends” would be the foundation for my future career.

Mrs. Akin passed away at the age of 111. I often think of her and ask the angels to tell her what a profound impact she had on the freckle-faced redheaded kid “from up the street”. She will always be one of my heroes.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely story. You truly are the angel in the picture.



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