We all need a purpose in life. Something that drives us to make the world around us a better place.

A Shoals area woman recently found a new purpose in life after moving to a nursing home.

Dorothy Archer, age 87, discovered motivating others was her purpose when she moved to Cottage of the Shoals in Tuscumbia. She’s become a mentor and uses her bright smile to help others stay positive and enjoy the day.

“I enjoy riding up and down the halls, speaking to everyone, and offering assistance to anyone in need,” Dorothy said. “I also enjoy sitting on the front porch and talking to residents and visitors.”

She came to this realization after learning how much she has to be thankful for.

“Living at Cottage of the Shoals helped me appreciate my health because I see others with more difficult conditions than me,” Dorothy said. “Also, it has helped me realize how many good people are in the world. In other words, it has made me appreciate people and not take them for granted.”

Dorothy shows she cares by crocheting shawls, scarves and blankets and giving them to her fellow nursing home residents. She started a domino club and reads up to five books per week during her spare time.

“Ms. Archer’s personality is contagious and she has so much energy,” Cottage of the Shoals Administrator Cheryl Baker said. “She is truly a joy and we all look forward to coming to work and spending time with her.”

Born in Franklin County, Alabama, Dorothy lived in Texas, Arkansas, Michigan and Indiana while her husband moved around with his Army duties. She and her husband, Grady, were married for 54 years. She has three sons, one daughter, five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and one great great-grandchild.

Dorothy will be motivated to do her best on July 27 when she competes as a top 10 finalist at the Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant in Birmingham. You can leave words of encouragement in the comments section below or share this article on social media to show your support.

For more information about the pageant, click here.

Editor’s note: This is the fourth story in a 10 part series about the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant. On July 17, we’ll post a story about Ms. El Reposo Nursing Facility Cornelia Penn.