Amanda Is 'Called to Care'
Intent on becoming a police officer, Amanda Dearborn pursued a degree in criminal justice. During summer break, Amanda’s sister, Memory Care Activities Director Ashley Meloy, invited Amanda to volunteer at BSL at Split Rock in Shelton, Conn., where she was struck by the residents’ love for her sister.
Soon, she felt the same love and joy in caring for memory-care residents and returned to volunteer at Split Rock the next summer.
After Amanda earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Mass., her sister told her about an opening for Memory Care Programming Coordinator at BSL at Hamden. So, in January 2017, Amanda turned from law enforcement to a senior services career path.
Immediately, one resident touched Amanda’s heart. Unhappy with her move from assisted living to memory care, the resident refused to participate in activities and exercise sessions and was distressed from being in a wheelchair after breaking her hip. When Amanda led groups on outings in the community’s shuttle, the resident disliked being in her wheelchair in the back of the shuttle because it made her “feel different.”
The resident wanted to walk again, and Amanda believed she could if she resumed exercising and participating in activities. With Amanda’s encouragement, the resident began enjoying every exercise session and every activity. In the shuttle, the resident sat up from her wheelchair in the back, walked down the aisle and took a seat like everyone else.
The family was amazed by the transformation of their loved one under Amanda’s care.
Recently, at the age of 101, the resident began to pass on. Amanda stayed past her shift to hold her hand, speak with her and play her favorite song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” on her phone.
After 16 months of connecting with the residents of her Hamden community, Amanda is certain she’s found her calling.
“It’s not really work,” says Amanda. “This is my second family; I care for them as I’d care for my own.”