Sister-to-sister: A long-term care triple-play

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Elizabeth Newman, McKnight's Senior Editor
Elizabeth Newman, McKnight's Senior Editor

One can meet a lot of interesting people at the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living convention. It's rare that you find yourself, however, doing a triple take when talking to a female trio.

That's because sisters Lori Marsden, 53, Aimee Pastore, 42, and Lisa Gomez, 37, who attended the AHCA national show together for the first time last week, look a lot alike. While it's fairly common to meet second- or third-generation family members who work in long-term care, this was my first experience meeting multiple siblings.

It gave me a slight feeling of wistfulness: My sister and I are very close, look alike and sound nearly identical. But I'm generally at a loss to describe what she does in the area of global food policy. It's not just me: My parents and I are very proud of her, despite having limited clues about her work or career goals. We're all thankful she went to graduate school this fall because now we can say to people who ask, with pride, “She's getting her master's degree at Tufts!” (And hope there is no follow-up question, such as “in what?”)

That's why it's neat to meet sisters who can celebrate and commiserate over their stories from the long-term care field.

Lori, Aimee and Lisa are in the mix of seven siblings (with four brothers), products of parents who were married for 53 years. They all grew up in Southern California and attended the same high school, Bishop Amat Memorial High in La Puente. All quite athletic and all musical (they still love to sing), their introduction to long-term care while growing up was when their great-grandmother entered a facility in Temple City, CA.

Lori started working in that facility when she was 16 and worked through every department, from activities to medical records. Today, she's the director of Operations for Country Villa Health Services. Lisa, meanwhile, is the administrator at Country Villa Bay Vista in Long Beach, CA. Aimee relocated to Georgia, where she runs the Southeast Central Billing office for Golden Living.

All of them have encouraged each other in the long-term care field: Lori inspired their mother and Aimee to go work for Beverly Enterprises more than two decades ago; Aimee in turn brought Lisa into the industry when she was a Beverly consultant. While Georgia is far away from her family, Aimee says she is grateful she could drive down from Conyers to Tampa to share the AHCA show with her sisters.

“The entire week was full of fun times and laughter,” Aimee says.

While it was a longer trip home for Lori and Lisa, they said it was worth it. Lisa says she was especially moved by the documentary Alive Inside!, about Dan Cohen's music therapy program. But the entire convention was "an awesome experience, something I will never forget or take for granted," she says.

“I think we can all say we will bring much back to our facilities from the convention,” Lori says. “We are fortunate to be in the business we are in. We can have fun and serve our communities. Who could ask for more?”

Do you have a sibling who also works in long-term care? If so, let us know what it's like in the comments below.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.