Life is full of challenges, but within each of us is the innate ability to adapt and overcome almost any circumstance. Angie Withers Carter believes that it is up to us personally, to dig deep and find the strength to live life, reimagined. For almost eighteen years, Carter’s warm smile greeted practically every person who walked through the doors of the Senior Services Shorefair building. Her comforting demeanor and willingness to lend a hand made her a perfect fit for her duties as the agency’s receptionist, engagement coordinator. Her knowledge, joyful personality, and all around “can-do” attitude made her an organizational favorite for the seniors we serve, staff, board members, volunteers, and all other guests and visitors to our office. She often says, “Through all of the changes in my personal life, my role at Senior Services has always been a constant that never changed.” However, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed Angie to rethink her roles both inside and outside the agency.
Although she is admittedly resistant to change, Carter saw how the COVID-19 pandemic forced nearly everything around her to adapt. She decided it was time for her to step outside of her comfort zone and reimagine herself and her professional life. She embraced the idea that change is often unavoidable, and can even sometimes be good. In September 2020, Angie took a leap of faith by transitioning from her role as Senior Services Engagement Coordinator into her new position with Senior Services as the Living-at-Home program’s Administration Coordinator. When asked what prompted the shift, her answer was clear and to the point, “COVID-19 and my role as my mother’s caregiver. My mother spent so many years protecting and caring for me that now it’s time for the roles to reverse. I have to take care of her by any means necessary.”
Outside of Senior Services, Angie is her mother’s primary caregiver. Due to Covid-19, she has done her best to be vigilant about protecting her mom and limiting the possibilities of her mother being exposed to the virus. This meant cutting back on family visits and taking on additional responsibilities that other family members were able to help with before. Even during the holiday season, her concern for her mom’s safety was a top priority as her family made adjustments to how they celebrated. “Thanksgiving was hard, but Christmas was better. My children and grandchildren were tested and quarantined leading up to Christmas. We wanted to make sure that we were all negative before being around mom and each other. It was definitely a different experience, but I tried to stay positive by focusing on the family that could be together, instead of worrying about who couldn’t join us.”
Being a primary caregiver and a full-time employee can be a challenge on any day, but the COVID-19 pandemic challenged Angie to embrace a new level of adaptability. The front desk was a comfort zone that she wasn’t likely to step away from, but her new role in Living-at-Home allows Angie to be more flexible with her work hours. She’s able to spend more time working remotely, while still providing great service to participants by phone.
The last year has required a great deal of sacrifice and adaptability on Carter’s part, but she credits her faith for helping her get through. “I recognize that all humans are being stretched to the fullest extent of their capacity right now. I just believe by faith that we will get through from one day to the next. I’ve been hypersensitive about how to be an effective caregiver at home, but that has actually helped me grow into what I’m doing here at Senior Services.” As it turns out, Angie’s sensitivity as a caregiver, coupled with her deep conviction for the Senior Services mission, made her a perfect candidate for her new role in our Living-at-Home program. She is able to truly empathize with caregivers in need of assistance and recognizes the vital role that our programs play.
“I spent so many years learning about how everything at the agency fits together. In my new role, I’ve been able to draw on that knowledge, and build on it. The change has also inspired a greater appreciation for all that we do. I have a new opportunity to continue doing my part to fulfill the mission and be more equipped to deal with how COVID-19 has impacted my support system for my mother’s care.” Carter acknowledges that learning something new can be a challenge, but she continues to serve our participants with pride. “No matter what kind of challenges COVID-19 threw our way, we adapted. Senior Services will always be the best, and I am very proud to continue being a part of what we do.”