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Sarah: A lifelong caregiver, honored during Black History Month.

When her grandmother became ill, there was no question who would take on the role of caregiver. For 16-year-old Sarah, taking care of people was ingrained in her, it was second nature. Coming from a family where caregiving was a way of life, she stepped in without hesitation.

While Sarah’s journey, from her grandmother’s bedside to Wellness Director at American House Brentwood, might appear to be a natural step in a caregiving family, it certainly was not an easy one. Her background is filled with hard work, risk and sacrifice. Yet to hear Sarah tell it, the takeaway is pure selflessness. Hers is clearly a story of unquestionable commitment to the care of others. Sarah takes it all in stride when words like “dedication” and “passion” are mentioned. She just smiles and says matter-of-factly, “This is what I like doing, I’ve always wanted to help people.”

It was her grandmother who helped her recognize that she did indeed have a calling. “She always said how good I took care of her, and that she wanted me to make something of myself,” she says. Sarah knew that nursing was the path that would allow her to do what she loved. As a young, single mom, she was already working in long-term care. She waited until her small children were old enough to understand the long hours and commitment that would be needed to reach her goal. When they were ready, she began her next chapter, studying nursing at the Danville School of Health Professions in Kentucky.

Earning her nursing degree only intensified her desire to care for others. She remained firmly grounded in giving of herself, just as she had been doing since she was 16. Listing roles she’s taken on in her career—caregiving, clinical assessments, recruitment of staff, payroll and housekeeping—all of these are ways to help people; it is all part of what Sarah considers “nursing.” At times, the responsibilities pile up, and Sarah remains focused, “Everybody always talks about getting burnout, but I've never had burnout.” For her it is, and always has been, about the care, about giving to others. Even today, as Wellness Director, she’ll jump in and give her time to any department. Helping people is the ultimate goal. It’s what she does, who she is.

Part of what makes Sarah so uniquely non-nonsense about her role is the world she comes from. Both her mother and father were in senior care. Her mother has been a private caregiver her whole life, and her father oversaw the maintenance and housekeeping departments in a senior living community. Her two sisters are private caregivers. Not only is her compassion part of a powerful legacy, but it’s also opened that door for the next generation. Her two grandchildren have volunteered with seniors alongside their grandmother and now both want to be nurses.

Black History Month is a time to honor African Americans who have made a significant impact in science, politics, civil rights and the arts. Here at American House, we see people in our communities every day doing amazing things, giving freely of themselves with great compassion. It’s people like Sarah who’ve worked hard and earned their place in this month of honor. Sarah, a devoted caregiver from the time she was 16, continues every day to make people’s lives better, and humbly, yet assuredly, carves her own very special place in history.

If you’d like to start your next chapter caring for others and putting smiles on the faces of those around you, there are positions available at American House…probably one right around the corner.

We all have a story. A story that taught us something, changed us and helped define who we are. Our seniors have amazing stories that hold a wealth of wisdom. At American House, your next chapter is waiting to be written. We’re here to help you write it. Your way.

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