I grew up behind the counter of a family owned pharmacy in a small east Texas town. My father had inherited the pharmacy business from his father, along with a strong sense of Emotional Intelligence and always “Doing what is right!”
Each trip to the store offered me exposure to regular customers who were usually in their mature years. They would shuffle in on a walker or cane with great effort, avoiding my spry skips as I approached them with a “sick” Cabbage Patch or new tiara from the toy department. They would smile and talk to me, pleased that they were not invisible and important. It was through this joy that I grew a great fondness for the elderly.
Growing up, I also had three grandparents that lived close by. My mother’s parents were highly involved with picking me up in carpool and taking me to after school activities. I traveled with them, and was greatly influenced by their interest in history, genealogy and religion. I listened to more NPR between first and fifth grade than I did New Kids on the Block.
As they aged, my grandfather lost his ability to walk and ambulate freely, while my grandmother lost her ability to see, hear and eventually developed dementia. The errands, doctor visits and meal preparation began to fall heavily on my mom, all the while my father’s mother was also aging and needing intense assistance. Where my grandparents had been a huge support for my mom before, now their needs were as demanding as her three children.
After a late night of dance lessons and a trip to Luby’s for dinner, we dropped my grandparents at their home and got them settled for the evening. While unloading the transport wheel chair from my mom’s car, I began to wonder what happened to people who age without children nearby. Mom and I talked about this, and at the young age of 12, I knew that when I grew up, I was going to help “old people.”
By the time I was driving in High School, the tables had turned; my siblings and I were helping my mother run the “fossil ferry”, as she called it. Seeing how one less trip to my grandparents ‘ house gave my mom a few minutes more at Target or a less rushed visit with a friend, I saw the value in having help.
When entering the work force after college, I was fortunate to start working on the cusp of the population aging. I knew as a kid that this was my calling. The aging population has brought new challenges to our country’s social recipe, but in the end this extended generation ads richness and spice.
I'm Claire Maestri and I am the Director of Senior Care Services at Mom's Best Friends Senior Care. This is my passion. I have been doing it for 10 years and I look forward to assist and care for your loved ones.
Mom's Best Friend