written by Dana Herron
Keeta Keeton is contagious, and she infects everyone she touches.
Of course we’re talking about her enthusiasm, her joy and compassion. As the Memory Care Activities Director at CaraVita’s own Woodland Ridge Assisted Living, Keeton is always busy helping staff and residents, dancing and holding hands, or offering to listen (with an ever present nod, and a compassionate smile).
And she’s always had endless energy for caregiving. Keeton, a local of Atlanta, has worked at Woodland Ridge for more than 15 years! But her training as a caregiver started much before in her life. When she was in school, Keeton was one of a few relatives who cared for her extraordinary grandma. Tackling the role of caregiver at such a young came exceptionally naturally to Keeton. Maybe it was in her DNA all along. After all, Keeta grew up under solid ladies with empathetic hearts.
After graduating high school, Keeton became a CNA and began working at South Fulton Hospital. She planned to earn her nursing degree until the closing of the hospital timed up just right with her life – with a new baby on the way Keeton knew nursing would have to wait. She considered becoming a paramedic, but ended up in a cosmetology program instead.
During her year as a cosmetologist, Keeton felt the caregivers tug.
“Taking care of people was more of who I am.”
And so, she returned to the profession that brought her into alignment with herself, taking a part time CNA job at an Assisted Living community in Smyrna, GA – Woodland Ridge Assisted Living.
She never left. In the 15 years since, Keeton has held lots of positions at Woodland Ridge. She was a floor supervisor and an activities director before landing where she fits ever so perfectly – guiding the daily activities of our Memory Care community and providing the leadership of a Best Friend.
Keeton sees our residents as part of her extended family.
“You have to love what you do to come to work. You’ve got to really love your job.”
If there is an overriding lesson to take from Keeta Keeton’s work in the memory care community at Woodland Ridge Assisted Living, it is the reminder that a sense of family is simply invaluable for both the residents, and their own real families, to experience in caregiving.
When Keeton shares with Woodland Ridge residents her sense of purpose, amazing things happen. Family members are often surprised just how active and engaged their loved ones are after settling into the neighborhood. Keeton loves that sense of sense of surprised appreciation from family members. Seeing their loved ones experiencing joy — a joy Keeton proudly makes possible every day – that’s why Keeta comes to work.