Faithful Commitment and a Life’s Calling
The work of a caregiver is not taken lightly, or without full commitment to the job. With her decades of experience caring for elderly residents, including those suffering from dementia, Arnetta Sawyer understands the deep sacrifice and reward connected with the work of caregiving.
After seeing one of her nieces enter nursing school, Arnetta decided that her own innate compassion and love of the elderly would make her a natural fit for this kind of work. In 1994, she attended the Barnes-Jewish nursing school and soon after got her nursing license. Almost immediately she began working with dementia patients and quickly understood that these individuals required a higher level of commitment and knowledge to care for properly.
Because of her desire to become a better caregiver, Arnetta went back to school to get her dementia license in 1995. A genuine curiosity, born out of her compassion for the people she cared for, led her to seek a deeper understanding of their struggle.
Love in Motion
Arnetta says her parents instilled in her a love for people that she was able to express with her role as a caregiver, “I had loving, caring parents who gave me my passion for people.” Through school and on-the-job experiences, she became adept at navigating situations that would be difficult or frustrating for most caregivers.
“The disease is not the person. I learned to separate those concepts.”
Her belief that every life is precious, coupled with a deep understanding of how dementia can express itself through the words and actions of her residents, made Arnetta an ideal caregiver. At the senior living community where she worked, she became a sought-after caregiver.
Residents and their families would request attention from Arnetta because of the patience and compassion she showed everyone. At that community, she would win CNA of the Year.
A Calling, A Mission, A Life’s Work
When a close family member began showing signs of dementia, it was up to Arnetta to step up for her family and offer her expertise and compassion. Again, her acquired knowledge combined with her heart for sufferers of dementia helped her make a difference in more lives.
Arnetta applied the same care and love to her family that she did on the job as a CNA. She describes her motivation as a simple equation, “Love God, love yourself, and you will love others.”
When she started working with Comfort Keepers in September of 2015, she knew she would be paired with a resident who suffered from Alzheimer’s Dementia and needed extensive one-on-one attention. Just as she was about to begin work, she was summoned for jury duty.
During the jury interview process, Arnetta prayed that she would be allowed to go start her work with her patient. She explained this to the judge, saying she wanted to go love and take care of this person.
The judge would later tell Arnetta that his mother had suffered from Alzheimer’s Dementia, and Arnetta’s request to “go love and take care of” her resident had swayed him. He knew that the right thing to do was to let her off of jury duty so she could do her life-changing work.
The Life of a Caregiver
Arnetta has been caring for her “little lady” for five years now. She keeps a regular routine, engaging her with hygienic activities, warm meals, and social interaction, including selfie photos on the patio.
She’s also developed a bond with the family of her resident, saying, “Her family are genuine, sweet people with kind, generous hearts.” And the family loves Arnetta too, understanding that their loved one is cared for and treated with dignity.
Arnetta says her work as a caregiver is challenging, but rewarding. “It isn’t easy,” she says, “You’ve got to walk in love.” She says she thanks God for every good day, and even for the bad days, since she has faith she’ll be given the strength to handle anything in her role as caregiver.
An Exemplary Comfort Keeper
Comfort Keepers of Greater St. Louis is honored to call Arnetta Sawyer one of its Caregivers, and the subject of this Caregiver Spotlight. Her story and example are at the heart of what Comfort Keepers seeks to provide for its clients.
To learn more about Comfort Keepers in-home elder care, and how they might help you provide care for your loved ones, call our St. Louis office at 314 576 7000 or visit our contact page to reach out by email.
If you’re interested in pursuing the rewarding work of a Comfort Keeper, reach out to us at the phone number listed above or visit the careers page on our website.