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    Posted March 24, 2014 by
    katieatforte
    Location
    Scarborough, Maine

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    Taking Care of Others Has No Age

     
    Oftentimes, when we think of people who constantly give of themselves to help others or who have vast wisdom and understanding, we think of someone who has experienced many years of life. But one special caregiver at Scarborough Terrace Assisted Living has proven that is not always the case. Natasha Souza is only 23-years-old, and yet she has taken others into her home when they had nowhere else to go. She has become like family to some of the residents she cares for in the assisted living community. Most importantly, she has inspired others simply by giving of herself in ways that many her age could not even imagine.

    When Souza was just 20-years-old, her two sisters were in need of foster care and she decided to care for them in her home. Souza did not want her then 15-year-old sister and 5-year-old sister to live with strangers. Now three years later, she has a 4-year-old daughter with her husband, and they are expecting another baby this summer. She has been carrying for her sisters for the past three years.

    “It is definitely a challenge to take care of so many people, but I feel like helping others is why I am alive,” said Souza, personal support specialist at Scarborough Terrace. “I grew up in an unstable home so I knew from a young age that I wanted to become a better adult. I never experienced the typical 21-year-old party lifestyle because I wanted to make daily sacrifices for the ones I love.”

    Souza’s love does not end at home. Her days start at 6:30 a.m., helping residents at Scarborough Terrace get ready for the day. At around 8:30 a.m., she starts helping others with different activities and with lunch and laundry. After work, she picks up her sister from the bus stop and gets her daughter from her mother-in-law’s house. After this, it is time to go home and help with homework, make dinner and get everyone ready for bed to start it all over again the next day.

    “It is still a learning process. I am essentially raising a teenager who is only five years younger than me and trying to make sure my daughter knows that both of my sisters are her aunts and not her sisters, said Souza. “But, we are making progress. When we first got my youngest sister, she was extremely shy and was having speech difficulties. Now, she is just like every other second grader and is doing well.”

    One particularly difficult moment for Souza happened this past October when her great-grandmother passed away. She was close to her and turned to her for advice and perspective. This is when her relationship with a particular resident at Scarborough Terrace began to grow.

    “Natasha was my caretaker when I first moved in to the community,” said Pat Rodimon, resident at Scarborough Terrace. “She spent so much time in my room and when she found out that my daughter did not live here and that I did not have grandchildren, she started sharing her family with me. She brought her daughter to visit me, showed me sonograms of the new baby, and we just talk about life. It means so much to me that she adopted me as her own grandmother.”

    “Pat and Natasha’s relationship is a very special one,” said Elizabeth Simonds, marketing manager at Scarborough Terrace. “They are very involved in each other’s lives and have become close friends. Pat loves listening to stories about what is going on in Natasha’s life, giving advice and sharing her own stories. We are so lucky to have such an amazing role model on our staff. She inspires me and the other residents every day.”

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