Caring for the elderly became her life’s passion
By Tyra Sutak
POSTED: 08/24/2013 09:00:00 AM MDT
The elderly have had a special place in Joan Raderman’s heart since she was a child.
Born to entrepreneurial and ambitious parents, Raderman spent much of her time on a farm in New York state in the care of her grandparents, for whom she remains grateful to this day. And then, at age 9, Raderman truly felt her life’s calling.
While touring a nursing home as a potential property acquisition for her parents, Raderman was horrified by the conditions in which the residents were living.
“Some of them were treated very poorly because of their age,” she said, “and it just stayed with me.”
So much, in fact, that she made a career out of improving the life of the elderly. And it’s her role as founder and director of Circle of Care, a nonprofit organization in Boulder, that earned Raderman the Daily Camera’s 2013 Quality of Life Pacesetter Award.
It’s a fitting honor for a woman whose work led to the Circle of Care being awarded the Best Practice Designation from the MetLife Foundation and Partners for Livable Communities, thanks to its strong volunteer base, program model and commitment.
Early in adulthood, Raderman spent time working with people with degenerative diseases. She lobbied in Washington for the Alternative Medicine Act, and she worked in marketing and public relations for integrative cancer centers.
Then came a life-changing moment: Her son encouraged her to visit Boulder. A two-week trip turned into a permanent stay and, eventually, a fortuitous introduction that led to Raderman finding a job at a local senior living community. It was there that, just as she did as a young girl, Raderman witnessed the sadness in the eyes of so many of the residents. It was an epiphany that led her to create Circle of Care.
“It was really born out of an overwhelming emotion and desire to make a change — a positive change in the area that broke my heart,” Raderman said. “There are so many unseen people in our community and in the world, and they slowly retreat and they slowly give up, and it impacts that community on a much broader level.”
Raderman prides herself on Circle of Care’s broad scope, which includes art-centric activities for the elderly, such as outings to enjoy theater and the orchestra. But most importantly, she encourages families and friends to be actively involved in the lives of the elderly with whom she works.