I’ve wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. As a kid I was sick a lot and the nurses were the ones who helped me through it all. I was hooked. Although I couldn't articulate it at the time, it sparked a desire in me to help people at their most vulnerable. As an oncology nurse for the past 27 years, I’ve walked with patients and their families through some of the toughest times in their lives. It’s very important to me that they feel supported and that I do what I can for them. As a nurse for Senior Helpers, I bring that same passion for helping our clients and their families through this part of their journey. I feel privileged that they’ve allowed me to tag along.
My career goals and achievements have always been focused around caring for others in some capacity and my education mirrored this need by studying healthcare and business. After obtaining a degree in medical assisting and my MBA focused on healthcare administration I set out to apply what I learned with the goal of professional growth and making a difference in the community and the organizations I worked for. In the last 15 years, I have gained valuable hands-on experience while managing businesses and employees in variety of settings including long-term care, medical office administration, and private education, in addition to co-founding a non-profit that provides services for the Deaf. I eventually reached a point where I found myself looking for a more rewarding roll where I could work more closely with the people I desire to serve. I was fortunate to find that opportunity at Senior Helpers where I hope to make positive impact in the lives of our senior clients, and where I have the rewarding satisfaction of knowing that I am in some way responsible for helping to keep each person where they want to be for as long as possible.
Education, employment and volunteer experiences over the past 20 years have allowed me to support seniors and families through programs and services at community levels. I’ve gained valuable insights on aging through both research and experience and have found this work to be the most fulfilling. I’m happy to have become part of the team at Senior Helpers, who’s mission it is to improve the quality of life for those we serve.
It was my privilege to join the Senior Helpers team seven years ago. I had retired but felt a lack of purpose in my life. When I met Kelli I was instantly inspired by her passion to provide the very best services to her clients. My contribution to this goal is to manage the bookkeeping and financial records so that Kelli can be focused on client care. I am committed to maintaining accurate records and available to answer any questions you may have regarding your statements.
19 years ago I started my career in home care after a series of experiences lead me in this direction. After working in assisted living and other capacities with seniors I asked myself “What more can I do to make a difference?” I found that the most personally satisfying and rewarding experiences came when I had the opportunity to educate families and provide solutions to allow them or their loved ones to age at home with comfort and independence. 3 years ago my path lead me to Senior Helpers of Portland when I relocated back to the Northwest. After what seemed like an extensive search for the “right fit” I was drawn to Senior Helpers because their mission and message fell in line with my own personal and professional goals. As I continue my journey with Senior Helpers I am rewarded each day with the satisfaction of achieving a better understanding of our elder population and how I can serve my community through senior care. My goal is and always has been to attain success through my service to others and I believe Senior Helpers is the partnership I had searched so long for to do it.
Karen Crusich, RN, BSN Education/Training
At the young age of 13, I realized a couple of things: I had a heart to serve others and I knew that nursing would be my career. After completing college, I spent many years in various nursing environments with patients of all ages: hospitals, clinics, pediatrics, and adults; and I practiced nursing in a few states at home, and served as a volunteer in Romania and Israel. While working in a hospital I found myself feeling distressed as I watched patients being discharged who did not seem ready to take over their care. However, I was also convinced that people healed better in their own homes; thus, my career path changed to working in Home Health, Hospice, and Community Health. I had found my niche! I enjoyed getting to know the patients and their families in their places of comfort. I could practice all aspects of nursing from clinical tasks to providing education for the patient and caregiver(s), and supporting and coaching a dying patient and their family through the end-of-life process. My special focus in the past 15 years has been geriatrics, disabled adults, and has included the added opportunity of teaching the next generation of nursing students.
I’m now in my early retirement years and happy to bring with me my history and experience as well as that joy I’ve always had in caring for and serving others. As the Education and Training RN for Senior Helpers (Portland – West), I have an open door to equip caregivers to safely and compassionately serve our older and disabled adults and to support our office staff. What a great way to practice nursing! Thank you Senior Helpers!