Angil Tarach-Ritchey, RN, GCM, Caring.com expert
Angil Tarach-Ritchey, a nurse and geriatric care manager, is a nationally recognized expert in senior care with more than 30 years of experience. In addition to operating Visiting Angels, a home care agency in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she speaks nationally on eldercare issues and has been published in the Chicago Sun Times, Maturity Matters, and Medpedia. She also contributes to the websites Alzheimer's Reading Room, NurseTogether, and Wellsphere and shares her expertise in her blog, Aging in America.
Why I Care
"My love of the elderly began when I worked in a nursing home and met a lady -- I'll call her Ann -- who couldn't speak or do anything for herself. Ann never had a visitor, so I knew nothing about her.
"One evening, when assigned to clean residents' closets and drawers, I found a box in Ann's drawer with 30 letters and cards, all passionate love letters. This woman, lying there alone, seemingly unloved, had actually shared a fairy-tale love, rare and amazing, with an adoring spouse.
"It was through these letters that I got to know a patient who couldn't tell me anything about herself, allowing me to have a special relationship with her. From time to time I would read these letters to her. I don't know whether Ann could understand -- or even hear -- anything I said, but I felt that her spirit heard and understood.
"My three-decade passion has been based on empathy. Ann's is not just one story. There are thousands of elders, alone and unable to care for themselves. It's up to us as a society to understand that there is a person and a life behind the old face."