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Senior Woman

Subconsciously, I think I spent my entire career as an advocate for the elderly as a tribute to my grandmother.

She was my personal cheerleader and our relationship was tight. She welcomed me home from school and stayed with me until my mother returned from work. She would laugh at my silliness and listened carefully to my side of the story when I felt dismissed by my friends or angry with the world. She patiently tutored me so I could pass math -- which was no simple feat!

My grandmother also encouraged me to find my voice -- a lesson SHE learned arriving from Russia as a teenager without speaking a word of English. She aged gracefully and died with dignity.

As an RN and MSW, I understand the physical and the psychosocial challenges faced by the elderly and the toll it takes on families and caregivers. Using a multidisciplinary approach, I educate medical professionals, social workers, and paraprofessionals in agencies and in residential facilities how to support those who are frail and often feel anxious and isolated.

Years ago when I started my career, the field of gerontology was in its infancy with few opportunities for career growth. Thankfully it's better now.

As my grandmother got older, she faced aging as just another challenge. In her memory, I'm grateful I am able to pay it forward.

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