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  • Writer's picturestefana sardo

The Realms of Life of a Caregiver

“Make sure you clean them and then dunk in a bowl of water, if they sink they are good, if they float throw them away.” Jurie just handed me a dozen eggs fresh from her mini farm. She swears that once you eat farm eggs you will not want to eat another store bought one again. In case you are wondering what’s the real difference between fresh farm eggs and store bought ones, farm fresh eggs are typically richer in color and taste than store bought eggs. The way Jurie cares for her eight chickens the eggs are probably more nutritious than store brought ones, too.

Jurie crossed my path a few years ago. We are both members of “Gerontology Collaborative”, a Facebook group dedicated to providing a forum for anyone interested in the field of aging and though this group started in Portland, Oregon, members literally are from all over the world. There are over 1,000 members and yet just a handful give regular -and positive -feedback, Jurie is one of them.

Cheerful and always optimistic, Jurie makes you want to be kinder, softer, and outwardly happier, at times when life is chaotic and stressful -politics and COVID are high on my list-positive emotions eases any feeling of anxiety. (Research backs this claim: a study on happiness from the University of British Columbia “while there are several ways to reduce anxiety, such as meditation, exercise, prescription medications, and natural remedies, it turns out that being nice to others can be one of the easiest, most inexpensive ways to keep anxiety at bay.”)

Whether she is responding to a Facebook post or interacting face-to-face with others, Jurie appears to, at least outwardly, handle changes and challenges with a positive emotional display. It is in the forever smile or tone in her voice. How she maintains a ray of optimism is beyond me in these challenging times and especially when on closer inspection I learned that Jurie has a lot on her plate.

Jurie is a caretaker and this role extends in all realms of life. During the middle of COVID, along with an adult son, her father joined the household-with growing medical needs. Working from home-Jurie is in Real Estate-does have its benefits, however, she is always on the alert and sometimes it is to scare off menacing coyotes after her free-ranging chickens-wildlife is abundant on Powell Butte, the backdrop to Jurie’s backyard.

When Jurie is not tending to family, she is assisting others to improve their own communities. One example, Jurie is a board member of Villages NW (Portland Metropolitan area chapter of a national organization enabling older adults to stay in their own homes). For this same group, Jurie hosts an affinity group to help villagers learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion and how these social issues affect villages.

I have no doubt that there are more passionate activities I am forgetting to mention, but if you want to learn more, or just need cheering up, drop by Jurie’s house, and while you are at it, pick up a dozen free range chicken eggs or a book or two from her little free library books!


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