By Stacy Smith

As evidence of her readiness to make a change, Gay Nell Gillespie has not only welcomed her new residential move to Diversicare of Boaz wholeheartedly, she shows absolute delight in serving as Ms. Diversicare of Boaz.

“I enjoy living in Diversicare of Boaz because it just feels like home. I have been in and out of this center the last 15 years. My husband was also a patient of this center. I enjoy therapy. I am not taking therapy currently, but I still enjoy going and visiting with those in therapy,” said Ms. Gillespie, age 88.

Her health was declining, and Gillespie knew she needed to make a change.

“I feel like this is where I need to be. In order for me to be happy and be able to reach out to others, I needed to make sure I was taken good care of so I was able to help others,” said Gillespie.

After 33 years working at the Lee plant, she retired. She then went to work in retail sales at the Dress Barn. She likes to be around people of all ages and stages. She has served as a volunteer in her church nursery, her church youth group and as a hospice volunteer. She loved to cook, and loved to take food to others.

“As long as we can reach out and help others, we don’t think about our own problems so much. Being here at Diversicare helps me to be able to do that,” said Gillespie.

She personally appreciates the therapeutic work that the nursing home provides to residents. She recalls when her mother lived in a nursing home for three years after having a stroke. During that time, her mother learned to walk again.

The family pulled together as daily prayer partners for those years. One morning, Gillespie vividly remembers walking in to visit her mother in the nursing home, and was greeted by her mother walking towards her calling her name. On that special day, her mother’s dedication and work along with all of their prayers were answered.

“Every morning and every afternoon, Mrs. Gillespie checks on the residents. She lets them know how much she cares. She is very kind and loving. She always has positive words to say, and a smile,” said Jennifer Morgan, Activities Director of Diversicare of Boaz.

Editor’s note: This is the third story in a 10-part series about the finalists for the 2018 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant. On July 19, we’ll post a story about Ms. East Glen Center for Nursing & Rehab Annie Avery.

Stacy Smith, APR, is a freelance writer based in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant is July 30. Click here for more information.