Patience is a Virtue.
How it all got started
I have to believe my roots were established as a child by helping my grandmother who was a volunteer. I recall being adored by numerous seniors residing in the nursing home as I helped her push the cookie cart each week. Grandma was also a volunteer at the senior center and would help deliver meals on wheels in the community. As a youngster it was a great reward to take a hot container, cold container, and a pint of milk to the old lady who, in return, would pay me with a piece of candy followed by “what a sweetie”.
I was born and raised in Lewiston, MN. Years later, my father tragically died when I was 15 leaving me feel as though I had an obligation to grow up quickly and take care of myself. Turns out I dealt with the loss by taking care of others instead. By the time I was 16 I had already taken the Certified Nursing Assistant Course (C.N.A) and secured 2 jobs. I always had multiple irons in the fire balancing a lifestyle where if I wasn’t in school I was at work and vice versa. I was the employee who would always pick up shifts, work holidays, or stay to do a double because the folks I cared for- I considered my family. I maintained consistent employment with certain providers for years while always dabbling with a second job here or there to best learn their way of operation to absorb the best practice which allowed me to generate new approaches for existing employers.
My true inspiration came from my boss Don Rademacher at Arbor Gardens in Eyota. He has been a true mentor! He was someone that pushes you to be your best, who will not point out your faults but help you identify them and train you to think about how you will overcome a mistake you have made. He took me under his wing, almost as though a father figure; to pat me on the back and celebrate milestones or other achievements, listen to my personal problems, and always supported me to open the door to opportunities. He supported me, had confidence that I would make the right decisions, and admired my work ethic for being so young. I cannot pay a big enough attribute to him in molding me into the individual I have become. Arbor Gardens influenced me to a degree that I cherished feeling like family amongst the staff and residents alike that I was adamant to pursue opening a private assisted living out of my home someday.
I received by associate degree at Rochester Technical and Community College. My professors acknowledged my work ethic, compassion, and appreciated my bedside manor emphasizing that I would shine as a nurse in the hospital setting. However, when I shared with them my dreams of opening a private assisted living in the near future I received a few laughs, some supported me being an entrepreneur, and others significantly tried to twist my arm to work in a hospital setting. Following my 2yr degree I pursued my bachelors at Winona State University on Rochester Campus. Again, all of the instructors as well as my peers were aware of my ambitions and to this day they inquire about my intentions. I now have been in the caregiving field since 2004, have been an RN since 2011, and a Foster Care owner since 2015.
Following college I met my husband, Jason Ratz, who is originally from Plainview, MN. It wasn’t easy for me to find a suitable match who met all of my expectations as I’m very precise on what I want. When we met I had two goals in mind. 1) I was going to open a private assisted living out of a residential setting 2) I was going to have children. The poor soul agreed (not necessarily by choice) and bless his heart we’ve been on an undertaking ever since.
In 2012 we purchased a home from the late Norma Mason on the backside of the golf course. Comments we’ve received from spectators who saw the house previously compared to what it looks like now can attest for the sweat, blood, and tears we’ve put into this house. The old 2-story house was built in the early 1900’s. Jason’s talented wood working, carpentry skills, and the fact that he’s a jack of all trades contributed to endless hours, months, and years of this house which started off with demolition, remodeling, and adding an addition to make it have the beautiful appeal inside and out. The project finally wrapped up in the fall of 2015 as we both work full time jobs on-top of our own missions. The farm house was not necessarily the most ideal floor plan for business so we purchased some land 5 miles east outside of Plainview and built a new home with a blue print based off the feedback of existing residents.
Jason owns his own business, Ratz Carpentry and Woodworking. It is coincidence that Jason worked for my father, who was a carpenter, the year before he passed. He is a man of few words but very talented.
Jason and I currently have 4 young children of our own and he has one from a previous relation. My hope is to foster respect by exposing my children to those of another generation. My philosophy is “Together we’re family”.
There were multiple times where I second guessed myself though felt committed to accomplish a long lived dream. Due to life circumstances we had to jump through multiple hoops to make my dream become a reality. We developed a plan A, B, C all of which were dead ends and not an option- at which most people would have given up at this point, but years past, money invested, continued labor put into our home and finally plan F. worked out. Hate to admit, but persistence pays off. The need for passionate people to care for this generation is in and will be in higher demand. I have been blessed to find another young, admirable, ambitious individual ,who looking back, reminds me of myself. I have grown a lot of trust and respect for one of my existing employees and offered her the opportunity to partner on expanding our shared interest of caring for those that need it and we obtained another foster care home formerly known as "Park Side Eldercare" of which we renamed "Family Roots Eldercare". The name was inspired by a quote “Wings to show you what you can become. Roots to remind you where you’re from.” This quote stuck close to home as we feel our family tree has nurtured us with values to fly away and be successful while giving back to our elders who brought us into this world.
I feel as though I have a purpose. I have touched so many people’s lives whether it be direct or indirect. It’s doing small simple gestures, visiting for five minutes, providing a hug, establishing empathy along with truth about a prognosis, or taking pride in doing cares; as one knows that a resident’s appearance reflects the quality of your work. I am one who would go home after work and await by the phone to receive an update on a patient that was sent into the ER, or abruptly answer the phone in the middle of the night to give instructions if someone were to become ill, fall, or has passed. There are so many memorable faces who have come and gone where death becomes a normal part of your life. You no longer feel sad knowing most have gone to a better place.
A little bit about Cailey- Cailey has graduated from Plainview Elgin Millville recently with plans to attend college to pursue a certificate in phlebotomy in the near future. She’s had an array of experiences which include farming, volunteering through the church, caregiving at Country Cottage Senior Living, and has done a great deal of traveling within the states understanding various cultures and communities.