Meet the Caregiving Advice Team
Because of the strong, positive relationships I had with my grandparents, I've always admired and adored elders. And I wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. As I went through college, I soaked up the creative writing courses, loved American literature, and enjoyed my experience as editor in chief of the campus paper. But I also loved the four years of volunteering I did at a local assisted living community.
As my love for the elder population grew, I realized something: I wanted to use my writing abilities for more practical purposes. Writing about older adults would be my dream job.
After I graduated, 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 says. More than once, I drove residents to medical appointments, talked to family members about their loved one's care needs, gave tours of the community, and provided 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 the need for drastic change and creative vision at a systems level, and 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, I made the tough decision to suspend my 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.
Several years later, my beloved grandmother suffered several strokes, which made independent living at home a challenge. I partnered with my mother, her primary caregiver, to provide the best care possible — both at home and eventually in a personal care community. She passed away in 2017.
They are the reason I do this work. They are the reason I love this work. They are the reason that practical, action-oriented writing about elder care is my dream job.
Want to work together? Contact me via this web form.
Ruby Baker is a senior at Eastern University studying English Literature and Creative Writing. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Eastern University’s literary magazine, Inklings, and part of the ACT 101 student committee. She’s from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and loves her dog, Remy, and her three younger siblings dearly. She’s an avid reader of almost anything and could sit in a bookstore for hours doing just that. She’s currently working on writing and submitting fiction pieces, but has loved research and learning about new things since she was young.
Eliza Brown is just emerging into the “real world” of literature and writing after recently graduating Eastern University with a degree in English. She ponders life through a lens of Freytag’s pyramid, and silently corrects grammar everywhere she ventures (as every true logophile does) — admittedly or not. Eliza’s sidekick and best friend just so happens to be her 96-year-old grandmother Aj, with whom she shares the best inside jokes and from whom she has inherited every last ounce of sass. Eliza believes that to have a pencil, paper, and a dash of bravery is to have the tools to make a difference in this crazy, fast-paced, infinitely lovely world God has gifted us with. Writing is a peculiar beauty, for it is quiet, but reverberates into history in a way not much else can, and Eliza strives to emulate those qualities herself.
Alanna Woody is a senior at Eastern University, and is currently studying English with a focus in Writing. Along with this, she is a writing tutor at Eastern, while working as the Managing Editor for their literary magazine, Inklings. Alanna is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and enjoys music, poetry, watercoloring, late-night drives, and early morning coffee. She also enjoys playing guitar at coffeehouses in her spare time. Alanna is currently working as a communications intern at Intermediate Unit 13 (IU13), while writing up poems and ideas for poems on the side.