Growing Up with a Caregiver Mom

My mother has worked in the senior care industry for my entire life.  She was a nurse, and growing up with a mother as a nurse, I never had a need that was not met. That’s what she did. She fixed things. Belly-ache? “Drink some peppermint water.” Busted knee from a dramatic bicycle crash? “Let’s clean it up!” Brother won’t play Barbies with me? “Matthew…go play with your sister.”

I grew up tugging at her heels and following in her every footstep.  Then came the perplexing question that every child is asked…”What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Without skipping a beat, my response was always, “a nurse.”  I saw value in the work that she did.  I knew, even as an innocent child, that people needed to be taken care of, and it took a special person to do that.  Little did I know what it actually takes to embody that profession.

[Frequently, I would weasel my way into going to work with her when she was employed at an assisted living community on James Island.  While she was [medically] taking care of others, I first stepped into my role as a caregiver.  Though I did not realize it at the time, that wild and giggly little girl served up infinite smiles while simply doing activities with residents.

The other care staff loved when I was there visiting too.  They got to use the, “you better behave today, there’s a child in the building,” excuse.  I remember walking the halls, feeling like I was walking on the red carpet; I made everyone smile.  I was prefaced before going to her work, that some people may seem confused, or mistake me for one of their grandchildren.  My mom taught me to be inclusive and friendly with others and it started with how I treated the elderly.  I remember thinking and feeling like I was making a difference, one hug at time.

After college, I had the opportunity to work at a local community center that had a large senior population.  I seamlessly stumbled into stride and worked in activities coordination for senior programs.  Other job opportunities, and what I thought were career interests, pulled me away from this industry, though I knew in my heart it was where I thrived the most.

In the summer of 2019, my mother was offered a position at Indigo Hall.  Upon visiting her at her new job one day, I told her I wanted to develop my passions here.  I wanted to make a difference in the lives of the senior community in my hometown.  I wanted to be part of this beautiful building that my neighbors, grandparents, and James Islanders could gracefully age in.  I finally found my home at Indigo Hall in October of 2019 as the Director of First Impressions.  I work with our administrative and marketing team to provide the best experiences for all who join the Indigo Hall family.

My mother, Kim Bonner, is the Director of Nursing for our entire community.  Together we care for residents again, like we did in the good old days.  I am the best caregiver I can be today, because I grew up watching her care for me and others in the same way.  While becoming a nurse was not exactly meant to be for me, I take great pride in being a caregiver in a different fashion. I serve my residents with a smile daily, I build relationships with their families, and I help to enrich the lives of everyone at Indigo Hall with the power of connection.

I am proud to be a caregiver…just like my mom!

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