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Fuquay-Varina Resident Lives to Serve

DSC_0816These may be her golden years, but don’t expect Emma Parrish to sit around and reminisce. Parrish, a two-year resident of Carillon Assisted Living of Fuquay-Varina, says she is happiest when she is busy and being of service to others.

Most mornings you can find her in the resident activities room assisting her friends with their  latest creative endeavor, or working with Activity Director Sue Burkard to prepare for the next class.  In the afternoons you’re likely to spot her in the lobby, guiding her friends to waiting vehicles for a doctor’s appointment, and welcoming them home again with a smile and a gently held open door. In the early evenings, you’ll find her pouring coffee in the dining room after dinner.

“We tell her, ‘Emma, darling, please let us serve you,’ ” says Sally Miller, Fuquay-Varina’s Executive Director. “But there are some people for whom the need to serve never really goes away, and with people like Emma, you’d be doing her a disservice if you kept her from doing what makes her happy.”

Parrish is a natural born caretaker. Her happiest memories, she says, are when her children were small and her days were spent cooking for her family and kissing boo-boos. When her youngest child married and left home, Parrish — by then a young widow — knew right away she needed to get out of the house and amongst others. She worked for a while in a restaurant, and then for many years as the laundry director at Dorothea Dix Hospital. It was the hardest she’d ever worked in her life, but Parrish never complained. Quite the contrary; she thrived.

“I loved the idea that I was helping so many people at a time in their life when they needed help,” Parrish says. “I also just really enjoy the feeling of being busy. I never have liked to sit and wait and look at the clock.”

With good health squarely in her corner, Parrish says she feels her best when she’s physically active. A recent bout of arthritis in her knees was concerning initially, until she realized that sitting actually made the pain worse. Still, there are some tasks around the community that even she concedes are not practical for her to be doing.

“If we would let her, I believe Emma would be in the kitchen serving meals and washing dishes,” laughs Miller.

Not so, says Parrish.

“Well…the cooking maybe, but not the dishes. I am happy to let someone else do that for me now!”










Posted in Resident and Community Life, Resources, Sage Stories on February 12, 2014

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