Christine, our Community Outreach Specialist, is a native Floridian who has lived in Tampa Bay for 37 years. She is a graduate of St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Largo, Clearwater Central Catholic High School in Clearwater, and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg (with a Bachelor’s in Communications). Her passion for educating and empowering seniors to take an active role in their health and crisis prevention has always driven her to bring people together and empower them to reach their goals. She officially became a senior advocate when she joined the home care world in 2011. Christine proudly holds leadership positions in the following organizations: Fall Prevention Coalition of BLS, Pasco Aging Network, and Better Living for Seniors for both Pinellas & Hillsborough. She is also an ambassador for the pet therapy organization, Project PUP along with her rescue dog, Sadie.
Working in this industry has opened her eyes and sparked a passion for one of the biggest issues for elders- falls. Christine knows first-hand that the effects can be devastating. She became involved in the Fall Prevention Coalition of Pinellas and Pasco 3 years ago, becoming co-chair after her first year and chair at the end of last year. It is through her work with this dedicated group of professionals that she has been able to raise awareness about fall prevention in our community, coach Matter of Balance classes, educate seniors all over the tri-county area, and create an annual awareness event (Staying Balanced INSIDE & OUT) which will take place in Dunedin on October 8th this year.
In her spare time, Christine enjoys volunteering at her daughter’s school, local animal rescue groups, and other charity efforts. She also loves to travel, play board games with friends, watch movies, and dance. Her most recent adventure involved zip-lining in the mountains.
Christine has always enjoyed being around elders and learning from them, as well as, making them smile and feel appreciated. At a young age, she began assisting with the care of her great aunt and grandparents who lived into their 90’s. As a teenager, she volunteered with the Red Cross at Suncoast Hospital (now Largo Medical) and rallied her friends to put on shows to entertain local nursing home residents. She can personally relate to all the challenges and rewards of caregiving and finds it an honor to now be able to help the families and neighbors she has grown up with. Christine remarks “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to educate the people I meet on the resources available to them regarding the care of their parents and older relatives. I didn’t know any of this when I was helping my mother care for my grandparents and it would have made a huge difference.”
As a caregiver herself, Christine’s advice to others is; “Embrace the 4 R’s of Caregiving: Recognize, Reach, Receive, and Recover. As caregivers, we need to recognize what we are doing and the responsibilities we hold – understand what we have control over and what we don’t. Then we need to reach out for support from trusted resources and place real value on that assistance. Once we find help, we need to receive it willingly and allow ourselves to share our responsibilities in a healthy way. Finally, we need to take time to recover from the emotional and physical weight of those responsibilities. It’s entirely up to us to welcome opportunities to take breaks and become refreshed. In the end, all that matters is honoring your loved one and yourself in a manner that is respectful of both your needs and that preserves the integrity of your relationship so you can enjoy your time together even more.”