I met Noreen in January of 2002. I had just begun my role as an activity assistant in a skilled nursing home in Wisconsin. A mere four months earlier I was in my New York apartment on the morning of September 11th, 2001. The world changed forever that day. My professional career path changed forever that day as well. By then, I’d been in New York just over five years and had been working as a...
The Walking Club
“You may want to wear a jacket, it’s pretty chilly outside Dorothy,” I coaxed as I stood in the doorway of her apartment. She reached for the furry pink one. “How about this?” she asked. “I love that coat,” I cooed. Dorothy buttoned up her furry pink coat, locked the door to her apartment and we walked towards the elevator. It was nearly 1:30pm on Friday December 8th. The Walking Club had been...
Keep em' Busy
In my current professional role, my business travel has taken me through 11 states. From Texas to Florida, thru South Carolina, Kentucky and Pennsylvania with a stop in Maryland and several other states in between. I’ve logged thousands of miles as I cross the country providing support to the assisted living communities in my division. My primary responsibility is to train staff and give them...
Using a large blue erasable marker I wrote A-P-P-L-E on the giant white board. I smiled down at Marie. “Marie, can you see that?” “Yea” she responded. “Read it” Marie looked at the board looked up at the ceiling lights then back at the board. “Apple” she chirped. “Yes! That’s fantastic” I squealed. “You are amazing” I said while I wiped away the word and replaced it with; B-E-R-R-Y. “Marie,...
“Hey there Jim, my friend” I smiled as I extended my hand. Jim’s large Texas-sized hand grasped mine as his face lit up in a toothy grin. “Well howdy!” he replied. Each time Jim greeted me the next phrase was the same. “Woo Wee, you’re a tall one. Nearly as tall as me.” He smiled as he raised his hand in a mock-measure of my height. This greeting was familiar to me. It was word-for-word the...
Joe & Helen
I was in New Jersey visiting one of the communities that I supported as a Divisional Director of Memory Care. This particular space had a calm, soothing and welcoming vibe filled with residents from very diverse backgrounds. There were several veterans, former school teachers and a former New Jersey Highway Patrolman. The Patrolman had survived an entire career keeping the roads of New Jersey...
It began with Mabel. I’m not exactly sure what day of the week it was when I first met her but, I’m certain the month was January. Time, wasn’t really important to her and when I was with her, it wasn’t important to me either. She didn’t depend on a calendar and she rarely, if ever, looked at the clock. Mabel wore glasses and had a complexion that was smooth and virtually un-wrinkled. She...