Opportunity Knocks

Cindy Perlow became a certified nurse  assistant through a new Red Cross program. (provided)

Cindy Perlow became a certified nurse
assistant through a new Red Cross program.

Once her children, Seth and Hannah, were old enough to go to school, Cindy Perlow, a stay-at-home mother from Reisterstown, found herself at a bit of a loss. What was next? For several years, Perlow taught at the Joseph and Corinne Schwartz Preschool at Beth Israel, but eventually she felt ready for a change. When a cousin called with a job caring for her husband’s grandmother, a centenarian still living at home, Perlow decided to give it a try.

“I stayed with her for two-and-a-half years, and I really enjoyed it,” said Perlow, 48. “But when she turned 103, the family decided she needed to move to Milford Manor [Nursing Home], where she could get more care.”

Perlow, who had grown to think of her former client as a grandmother, continued to visit her at Milford Manor.

“One day when I was visiting, Rachel Rosenstock [a nurse and nursing assistant instructor] with the Red Cross, approached me and said, ‘I have a great program for you.’”

Rosenstock was referring to the Red Cross’ intensive five-week Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) program. Perlow had looked into becoming a nurse assistant before, but the trainings had all been too expensive and too time consuming. In this case, the training was brief, and she was eligible to receive a $1,000 stipend from the Walmart Foundation to pay for her training. The foundation had
recently announced a $3.5 million grant to the American Red Cross to fund training for entry-level health-care professionals, and Perlow became one of the 2,500 recipients.

Almost immediately after she completed the course and received her nursing assistant certification, Perlow found a job with the Lisa Vogel Agency, which provides in-home health care. She now works five days a week caring for an elderly client in Stevenson.

Caregiving comes naturally to Perlow, who said she has been babysitting and helping her mother to care for aging grandparents since she was very young. Now, in addition to her nurse assistant job and raising her children, Perlow also assists her 78-year-old father when he needs help.

“I really like working with older people because I enjoy learning about their experiences and hearing their stories,” she said. “Besides, health care is the biggest-growing industry. All of the baby boomers will be needing care. I feel like angels have made all of this happen.”

For more information about the Walmart Foundation’s nursing assistant stipends, visit rdcrss.org/18RXDoi.

Simone Ellin is JT senior features reporter — sellin@jewishtimes.com

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