Dorothy Gainey worked in nursing homes and other health care settings for more than 50 years. Now, she’s a nursing home resident.

“I have never worked with more dedicated and caring employees than those in the health care profession,” Dorothy said. “Now those caring professionals are taking care of me.”

Those caring professionals encouraged Dorothy to put her best foot forward when she made the transition to Troy Health & Rehab Center in 2014. Unable to walk, she immediately began a therapy program.

“Today, I’m able to walk to my destinations of choice, and I encourage others not to give up,” Dorothy said. “Health wise, physically and mentally, this is the best experience I have had for many years.”

Dorothy, age 78, should know quality health care when she sees it. She worked at nursing homes in Mississippi and Texas, and hospitals in Texas and Florida. She’s handled medical records, admissions and community relations, and was an assistant administrator of a nursing home.

Now that she’s a patient, Dorothy uses her time at Troy Health & Rehab Center to cultivate new friendships and encourage others to get involved in the life of the nursing home. Nursing home staff tell her she should add “social worker” to her list of occupations because of her ability to help new nursing home residents make the transition from the hospital or home.

“Because of her health care experience, Ms. Gainey is uniquely able to help other nursing home residents get the most out of their medical treatments and adjust to new social settings.” Troy Health & Rehab Center Administrator Warren Kelly said. “She’s an excellent example of how a nursing home can improve your physical and mental well-being,”

On a personal note, Dorothy has one daughter, four sons, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Dorothy will take the next step on her health care journey 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 seventh story in a 10 part series about the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant. On July 23, we’ll post a story about Ms. Woodhaven Manor Sylvia Holland.