CAREERS IN NURSING: HOME IS IN THE HEART- GOLDEN AGE NURSING CENTER
by Bobby Anderson – Writer/Photographer
Three employees at the Golden Age Nursing Center in Guthrie found there niche more than 30 years ago at Golden Age and have worked there ever since then.
Roy Givens, a 52-year-old maintenance worker for 35 years; Carmen Tarrant, a CNA for 32 years; and Amparo Zamora, a CNA at the center since 1988, found their nests long ago.
“Well for one thing, I like my job. I like to help my patients. They feel like family to me and this is real close to my house so I walk here every day. I like this place,” said Zamora, 69.
She met Tarrant at the center, who was doing housekeeping at the time and the two became friends. She found the nursing staff to be good coworkers and nice people, she said.
Tarrant’s mother Thelma Bright had worked at Golden Age as a CNA when she accepted her job. And since then Tarrant said her role as a CNA has changed a lot through the years.
“We didn’t used to use lifts as much. Now we use lifts which makes it easier on the residents and us,” Tarrant said. “It was still a lot of fun back then. Our menus have changed a lot and the residents like it better. They get to chose what they want.”
Back in the 1980s, residents were taken to the dining room and would eat the same meal. Now they get to chose their meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner and can request a meal at any time of the day.
“I’m trying to learn something every day.,” said Tarrant, 65. “And most of the residents, if you listen to them will tell you something each day like what they had done in their lifetime that I’ll never get to do. Most of them has traveled and have done all kinds of things that’s very interesting.”
Givens never gave a second thought about leaving Golden Age. A friend recommended that he apply there and after a few days he found he liked it, he said. He has also made close friendships among the staff and residents. Givens said the Chappell family are very nice and generous company owners to work for.
He likes to learn about the residents’ histories, the work they have done and also their military life. Some residents are veterans of World War II, he said.
“It’s interesting to talk to them about Japan. They are great. We talk about when they were younger,” he said.
Givens said he admires Tarrant and Zamora for their longevity and dedication to Golden Age. When they first started working there, all of the nursing staff wore white uniforms, he said. They changed the color.
“Everything changed a lot,” Tarrant said.
Zamora immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1978. Her husband had been working in Guthrie since the 1970s. She didn’t speak the English language at the time, but was determined to learn. At the time, she said her husband was one of few Mexicans living in town. She said it was hard to go to the post office and communicate at the time when sending money back to her family in Mexico. Golden Age workers such as Tarrant helped her a lot to learn English.
“She was real patient with me because she could understand me and I could understand her,” Zamora said. “We worked together.”
“You have to like what you do. You’re not just here for a check,” she said. “That’s what keeps me here. I like my residents.”
When she’s not working, Zamora prefers to stay at home and do house cleaning. Most of her time is spent at home with her grand children, she said. Her daughter lives with her along with her daughter’s children. Zamora has eight sons and daughters, 25 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.
Tarrant said it makes her feel good when she’s out in the community and the families of residents greet her at the grocery store. Even after several years, people tell her they remember her face and will remind her who their mom or dad was at Golden Age.
“They say, ‘I still remember how you took care of them. It makes you feel good that from years ago you are still remembered,” said Tarrant, who has four adult children and 11 grandchildren. Her grandchildren like to play baseball.
“The twins, oh my God — they are terrible,” she lovingly said with laughter. “They destroy everything. They broke my window playing baseball. I cannot keep them down.”
She goes to garage sales during her leisure time and likes shopping for groceries.
“That’s my favorite thing,” she said.
Givens said he enjoys movies and going out to dinner with friends. He enjoys knowing a lot of people in Guthrie.
Tarrant lives in nearby Meridian, far out in the country away from city life. She likes her privacy and has few neighbors. Her drive to work is only 15 minutes. She laughed when saying she has a dog and cares for six stray cats.
“You can go outside anytime you want, sit out and watch the sun and the moon come up,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about somebody coming up to your door. It’s peaceful.”