Karen Messics

I thank my mom, Miriam Hoffman, for giving me a heart for older adults.

Mom was a geriatric nurse. When I was growing up, she would take me along with her to nursing homes to visit her patients. I would attend their Christmas parties and other festivities. As a child, I loved it. I would become their surrogate grandchild.

Fast forward a few decades later when mom was first admitted into Artman’s Rehab. Our roles were different – she became patient and I, her health advocate. She quickly settled in at Artman and made new friends there.

Mom would later move into personal care, then skilled care at Artman. She loved going to dinner, and especially loved the holidays. Artman would go all out with decorations, music and fabulous food. They made her feel special. She would look surprised and ask, “Is this for me?”

I particularly recall the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. She fancied the Irish music and proudly wore her green hat and necklace. I found that humorous because, despite her brogue accent, mom never told people that she was Irish. “No, I’m a British subject” mom would quip when asked, even though she was born and raised in Northern Ireland.

After mom died, I became a volunteer at Artman. I especially like helping at special events like the prom, miniature golf and holiday parties. Over the years I’ve developed a special bond with the residents. It brings me joy to hear their stories and meet their families.

When I turned 60 last October, my daughter Madison orchestrated a very special surprise party for me. She requested that, in lieu of gifts, friends and family could donate to Artman’s benevolent care fund in honor of my birthday.

Her thoughtful act touched me deeply. Madison knows how much I love Artman and my time there as a volunteer. She sees how much pleasure and joy it brings me.

The benevolent care fund is particularly near to my heart, as one of mom’s friends benefited from the fund. N, I’ll call her, was able to stay at Artman as a beloved and precious member of the Artman family.

With the benevolent care fund, Artman provides the most gracious gift – that of assurance and security. No one is ever asked to leave because they can no longer pay the monthly rate.

Through the years, my husband and I have personally supported Artman’s benevolent care fund. For us, this fund embodies the Biblical principle of caring for others with compassion and love.