For Marie Perrin, resident assistant at Walker Methodist Care Suites in Edina, Minnesota, caring for seniors is more than a career—it’s a life purpose. “I care for them and I will do whatever I have to do for them,” says Marie. “I love them.”
Her favorite part about her job is simply talking to residents and sharing stories. “I like when they talk about their story and their life,” says Marie. Her residents appreciate their conversations as much as she does. “Since moving to Walker Methodist Care Suites, I feel better than I have in years and it is thanks to caregivers like Marie,” says one of Marie’s residents. “She asks about me, not my symptoms of the day and that leaves me feeling like a normal man and not a patient.”
Marie treats residents as if they were her own family. “I remember a night when a family was keeping vigil with their mom who was dying,” says Amanda Pitsenbarger, Housing Director at Walker Methodist Care Suites. “The family was exhausted and they didn’t want to leave, but they were at the breaking point. The reason they could go that night was because Marie was there and they could rest knowing their mom would not be alone if this was her last night.”
Once, Marie committed to providing as much outdoor experience as possible to a resident who used to work outdoors. Rain, sun or cold, she would prepare him for the weather and take him out for a walk. When he couldn’t go outside anymore, she made sure nature was brought to him. Plants filled his room and his bed was repositioned to be next to the window. Marie even placed a bird feeder right outside his window so he could continue to see the birds.
For Marie, the value of family doesn’t stop at home. She emphasizes the importance of relationships and family by helping her residents write letters or make phone calls to stay connected to their families. “If you don’t have a family, I will be your family,” says Marie.
One of Marie’s residents says he appreciates that Marie knows his relationship with his daughters is one of his greatest joys. When his telephone rings, Marie will race to answer it, knowing what a conversation can do to uplift his spirit. “These gentle gestures provide dignity, wholeness and joy,” the resident remarks.
Marie hopes all Minnesotans will work together with dedication and commitment to help our seniors age well. Like Marie says, “it’s the right thing to do.”