Welcome to Bobbi Jo, our veteran family navigator!
While looking for work in senior living-focused freelancing, Bobbi Jo Curty found my writing website, contacted me through LinkedIn, and has now worked with our team since mid March. She is also a graduate of my alma mater, Eastern University. Online networking for the win! Here’s her story.
I have been fortunate to grow up next door to my grandmother and grandfather. Not only did I have my first generation grandparents in my life, I also grew up with my great-grandmother until I was 18.
I have fond memories of hopping the fence from my house to my grandparent’s house, knowing I never needed to knock on their door before entering (it was always open anyways!), and barge in for a visit for the first, or fifth time, that day. The thought of Grandma’s house now conjures up emotions of love, endless provisions, and the savory aroma of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking.
In high school, one of my first jobs was working on the waitstaff at a local retirement community. Even then, I remember the residents there had their preferences, quirks, and characteristics that made them unique.
As I studied social work at Eastern University, I was able to complete an internship at a senior center. I recall how purposeful I felt by engaging in conversation with individuals at the center, which provided a connection with them. I knew this was the purpose I was hoping to achieve in my studies. It was then that I realized I could be a social worker and serve older adults.
Since then, I’ve spent more than ten years working in long-term care retirement communities. My experience is largely in skilled nursing facilities, particularly with people requiring short-term or long-term care. I’ve collaborated with many supportive services ranging from rehabilitation therapists, mental health specialists, home care, and hospice agencies. I have co-facilitated memory loss support groups run by the Alzheimer’s Association, and I continue to expand my knowledge in the dementia disease process.
My joy in my work has been hearing the stories and wisdom imparted by elders. I’ve also learned that everyone’s needs are different, from the older adult to his/her caregiver. And emotional support doesn’t look the same to everyone: Reminiscing, grief, joy, laughter — all are aspects that allow engaging conversations which deepen connections to foster compassion.
I know we each have a story: let’s acknowledge our worth and proclaim our value in this role. You are not alone. None of us are ever alone. Let’s support one another on this journey of caregiving.