Mariah Whitaker grew up around nurses, hearing stories of patients pulling through and making miraculous recoveries. Those nurses were her parents, who both worked in long-term care. As soon as Mariah graduated from high school, she knew she wanted to enter the family business.
“I chose nursing because it felt like home,” Mariah said. “I had been around that world my whole entire childhood, so it was familiar and comfortable to me. It seemed like the right path.”
Mariah became a licensed nurse in 2004, and her passion for the field has only grown ever since.
Mariah joined the CarDon family in 2014 when she went to work at Paoli Health & Living. Word spreads fast in a small town like Paoli, and she heard good things about the senior living community from friends and a relative who worked there. (Again, healthcare seems to run in Mariah’s family.)
Now an assistant director of nursing, Mariah oversees nurses and certified nursing assistants, making sure patients are happy, healthy and receiving the best treatment possible. Like her parents before her, she gets to witness the miracles of medicine and compassionate care.
“We get a lot of rehab-to-home patients here, and it’s always nice to see someone return to their normal life, especially if they’ve had a stroke and aren’t able to eat, drink or walk for a while,” Mariah said. “I had one patient who was not eating, losing weight and having trouble walking. But with therapy, the right diet and medication management, she was able to walk up and down the hall to and from meal service, and she ended up going home. It’s a privilege to play a part in that kind of recovery, and it’s so inspiring to see.”
Now, on top of helping patients and staff overcome the usual obstacles, Mariah is making sure everyone is safe amid COVID-19. She’s assisting with training staff on safety precautions and providing COVID-related education for residents’ family members as well.
Mariah also stays quite active outside of work, running her home farm and raising livestock with her husband and three children — ages 12, 13 and 15. They help their kids show the animals in 4-H fairs.
“I certainly stay pretty busy,” Mariah said with a hearty laugh. “But I’m grateful to get to do what I love at Paoli and at home.”