“When I was ten, my grandmother started developing dementia,” she said. Selena’s mother worked during the day while her father worked nights, so as the oldest of three, she became the primary caregiver for her grandmother while also caring for her siblings. She missed out on some typical adolescent activities like high school clubs and the prom because of her unyielding dedication to caring for her family.
When she graduated from high school in 1998, she enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Morse interceptor, continued her service through a yearlong tour in Korea, and was then stationed at Fort Meade.
“The Army taught me more about discipline and taking care of the team,” she said.
In 2002, after leaving the service and moving to Los Angeles, she discovered she could be paid for something that came naturally – taking care of seniors. She has excelled at the task, and is currently at Rest Assured Nursing, Inc., a nurse-owned and operated home care agency in Marina Del Rey, Calif. Selena’s team was so impressed with her work that they nominated her as a “Caring Champion,” making her a recipient of a new award program launched in June by senior care website Caring.com. The Caring Champions program highlights stories about the best professional care providers to seniors in America.
“Some people were really born to have the love and drive to succeed as a caregiver… Selena is one of those people,” wrote Chelsea Smith, the business manager at Rest Assured. “Selena is the definition of a true veteran and humanitarian for our country as a whole, but most importantly for our senior community.”
Selena was among 83 different people nominated as Caring Champions. After more than 5,000 social votes and careful consideration by an expert panel, she was selected as the grand prizewinner, earning a $500 cash bonus from Caring.com.
“I’m so grateful to Rest Assured Nursing for nominating me. There are so many great care providers, and we work so hard because we love what we do for our seniors. I have received so much wisdom in return,” she said in accepting the prize.
Selena has aspirations of becoming a registered nurse, and she strives to make the seniors feel “safe and secure, and that you want to be there, and that they’re the most important thing in your life at that moment.”
She has made it her life’s work to care for others. From looking after her grandmother to her service of country to her current work, she serves as a constant example of what it means to serve others.
Luc Bergevin works and occasionally writes for Caring.com. He cared for his grandparents for 6 weeks while he was in college, and enjoys old people more than most 24-year-olds.