What it’s like working with my grandma

Darby Askew is the Independent Living Marketing Director at Parkway Place in Houston. In honor of Mother’s Day, she’s sharing about the special relationship she has with her grandmother.

Many people don’t get the privilege of knowing their grandparents.

I get to work with mine.

My grandmother, Mrs. Virginia Derry, is a resident here at Parkway Place in Houston. Every day, I get to see her face, hear her encouragement and know she’s in my corner.

If it weren’t for “Nanny D” I probably wouldn’t even be working at Parkway Place. She was, without a doubt, the single most influential person in my life when it came to developing my love for seniors.

Growing up, Nanny and my grandpa often took me and my siblings with them to church. As far back as I can remember, I preferred being with her in the senior adult class instead of with kids my own age. I threw a fit if they ever made me go to the children’s Sunday school instead and refused to have any fun during the few times they made me stay.

Nanny took the role of being a grandma very seriously, and still does. The example she sets for us—one of accepting people from all backgrounds without judgement and seeing the good in everyone—is something I try to carry out in both my personal and professional life today.

Having Nanny as a resident at Parkway Place has given me a unique empathy for the residents and future residents we serve. From the challenges of downsizing to having a spouse with dementia, I understand what these seniors are going through because I’ve watched my own grandmother go through them too. Thanks to her, I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the table.

Whether she chats in my office for a while or just says a quick “Hi” on her way to dinner, simply having Nanny here at work makes a difference. When I’m tired or frustrated, Nanny is here to remind me what’s important and why I do what I do. She doesn’t coddle me, but rather challenges me to reach higher, work harder and serve better.

As my last surviving grandparent, having Nanny at Parkway Place is teaching me to slow down and cherish the little moments.

Parkway Place is home to me because Nanny is home to me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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