Because of the strong, positive relationships I had with my grandparents, I have always admired and adored elders. These special bonds are the primary reason I pursued this vocation.
I also wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. But as I went through high school and college, I realized that, despite my love of literature and creative writing, I wanted to use my writing abilities for more practical purposes.
Before I became a full-time freelancer, I worked in several retirement communities and assisted living homes in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Most of my work was in activities, events planning, volunteer management, newsletter production and internal communications, but when you work in health care, you often find yourself doing more than what your on-paper job description proscribes. On many occasions, I found myself driving residents to medical appointments, talking to family members about their loved one's care needs, giving tours of the community, serving (and sometimes feeding) in the dining room, and providing direct personal care.
All of these experiences were incredibly valuable in shaping my view of the elder care world: family caregiving and all the dynamics that entails, professional caregiver training -- or lack thereof, the ins and outs and ups and downs of senior living operations and management, the need for quality resident care advocacy, and much more. I saw an enormous need for drastic change and creative vision at a systems level, so I set out to do what I could to meet that need.
After a few years of graduate level classes in public health and healthcare administration (in which I learned little more than what I had already learned after a year and a half in the field), I made the tough choice of suspending the pursuit of an advanced degree. Soon after, I accepted a position as the Public Policy Coordinator for the Pennsylvania chapters of the Alzheimer's Association. During my time in that eye-opening role, I also moved into the role of long-distance caregiver. My beloved grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and declined quickly. We cared for him at home, with the support of hospice and home care services, until he passed away in 2009.
Not long after, I decided it was time to take these personal and professional experiences and turn it into a full-time freelance career. I've since published thousands of articles -- mostly online, but some in print -- on all things elder care, and a variety of other topics too.
The new services I'm offering here at the site -- elder care consulting, coaching and connecting -- reflect my desire to collaborate and share vital information and insights about my greatest passion, with those who want to know more. If you're interested in exploring how we might be able to work together, contact me via this web form.