Tina came to working with seniors shortly after high school. She was hooked by what it meant to be useful to people who deserved love and dignity. Six months after starting work in home care, she found she loved working with people who had dementia and sought a full time position in a specialized community. She spent almost six years there working in resident lived in ‘cottages’ and eventually worked as the lead caregiver with my own cottage of eight residents. An early ‘epiphany’ when she began working with people diagnosed with dementia was a lady named Lydia—who almost every afternoon struggled with anxiety and missing her daughter. She came to feel that Tina was her daughter and she wanted to comb her hair. So, that became their ritual. Tina would appear every afternoon to get her hair combed and chat for 30 minutes…and she was happy.
Tina returned to school to become a nurse, but met the love of her life and followed her to Germany. Life there was an adventure! She studied to become fluent in German and worked as a nanny and an English tutor. Her favorite part of that chapter was that she could stroll through the city (Cologne and Frankfurt) and run smack into ruins and structures that brought history to life…that, and the food! Anke and her came back to the U.S. as soon as the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down…it meant that their marriage would be recognized in her home and as soon as they returned Tina went back to my passion: Working with elders at Brookdale, where she had the great fortune to call Dawn Schaper her boss.
2017 has held two major life events: Anke and Tina are now parents to a baby, Charlie. “She is a delight and her little hands on my face melts my heart daily.” And Tina is part of this team-getting to open an absolutely beautiful Memory Care community together. She gets to tackle the challenge of keeping people fully engaged in their lives, despite the challenges posed by dementia. She is working with new tools, new technologies and a philosophy of living life to the fullest—no matter what. “Come and see us soon!”