MARYLAND

90-year-old woman at Frederick senior care center named ‘National Caregiver of the Year’

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FREDERICK, Md. (WJLA) – At the age of 90, Mary Hartsock says her greatest accomplishment came just this year, when she was recognized by her peers for her outstanding work. At her age, many people need a caregiver, but Hartsock is the one helping those in need.

Mary Hartsock. (WJLA)

Hartsock helps people like Lloyd Diggs, who is wheelchair bound. Both are the same age, but Hartsock is often much older than those she cares for.

When Hartsock gets a new client, the first thing she does is sit by his or her bed and ask a few questions.

“I want to know what you want for your breakfast,” she said. “Do you want one sugar in your coffee, or two creams?”

It’s that personal care that prompted the company she works for, Right At Home, to name her the National Caregiver of the Year. She was chosen out of 15,000 people.

“I was just beyond myself, I was so happy,” Hartsock said.

Hartsock’s work is often strenuous: scrubbing bathroom floors and tubs, cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming and doing laundry.

“Well, it’s physical, but I don’t call it real hard work,” she said.

Hartsock says she has been a caregiver all her life, raising her siblings after her mother’s death, running a childcare in her home, and caring for her husband during a long illness.

“If I can help a person [when] they’re sick and make ‘em feel better … I just feel happy about that,” she said.

At 90, Hartsock shows no signs of stopping.

“My son says to me, ‘Mother, aren’t you ever going to retire?’ I say, ‘Well, I guess I will when I die,’” she said, laughing.

Since she started her job at Right At Home 10 years ago, Hartsock has never missed a shift—not even when her power was out and her home was flooded during Hurricane Sandy.

 

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