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Published By Right at Home on May 20, 2009

Sisterhood From The Start - Ruth Rankin

When Millie and Ruth met, it was a sort of sisterhood from the start. “As soon as I walked in, we bonded,” says Ruth Rankin, a Right at Home caregiver with the Kenosha-Racine Right at Home in Wisconsin. Ruth provides care and companionship to 89-year-old Millie Traylor.

“We love one another like sisters,” agrees Millie who shares Ruth’s sentiments. “We just hit it off right away. She’s always willing to do everything you need. She’s one of the best caregivers I’ve ever had.” Ruth, 69, retired several years ago after 35 years in the health care profession . As a certified nurse assistant, she worked in areas such as physical rehabilitation and occupational therapy and at the bedside. She says she decided to return to the “caregiver role” after feeling a calling to return to a life of helping others.

“Something kept telling me I needed to go back,” says Ruth. “I’ve always had an ability to relate to people and I felt like I could still help. I wanted a slower pace, but I still wanted that one-on-one relationship. I thought homecare would be the perfect fit.” Ruth’s instincts were right. Since Ruth began working part-time for Right at Home last summer, she hasn’t looked back. “It’s been a wonderful thing,” notes Ruth, who says she gets just as much out of her visits with Millie as Millie does.

“We’re more like sisters,” Ruth says. “We just seem to have so much in common. We can just sit and talk all day long.” Quite coincidentally, Ruth and Millie both grew up in the same state of Kentucky, which provides them plenty of fuel for conversation. “I like to call her my mentor, because she’s 20 years older than me,” adds Ruth. “Even at my age, if you listen to your elderly, you can learn.”

Millie, her husband and son moved to Wisconsin from Webster County, Kentucky in the mid-50s after her husband received a job transfer. Millie has been a homemaker for most of her life and has also held several factory jobs over the years. After her husband died in 1993, maintaining the home became too difficult on her own. Her son, Mike Traylor, helped her move to a senior citizens apartment complex to help simplify her life. When Millie fell and broke her arm this summer, Mike decided his mother needed some extra help during the day. “I’ve been really happy with the care from Right at Home and so has she,” says Mike. “She really enjoys the companionship.”

Mike checks in on Millie each evening on his way home from work. During the morning hours, Ruth visits four times a week to help Millie with daily chores like laundry and cleaning as well as bathing, personal hygiene, dressing and making meals. Darlene DeWitt, another caregiver, visits two of the days Ruth is not scheduled to come. The best part of her visits with Millie, says Ruth, is just hanging out.

“We like to listen to music and try to guess the names of songs. We watch musicals, play cards and just sit and reminisce about growing up on the farm, picking berries and going to school. Those things are all good for the mind. It helps keep the mind going.” Ruth sees other clients as well, but Millie is her primary client. “Each person needs something different,” she says. “Some clients may need help getting around, some need help around the house, others just need companionship. With my background, it all comes in handy.”

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