Alice Turtle Robb blogs. Alice Turtle Robb writes novels. Alice Turtle Robb wonders about the connection between independence, intimacy, dignity and … toileting.

Alice Turtle Robb is a caregiver.

Alice Turtle Robb is also a member, owner and chairman of the board of the Circle of Life co-operative in Whatcom County, Washington State. She cares for elders, often people with dementia, people she refers to as her “Heart Song ” people.

She writes of coming to grips with the awfulness of dementia, though she counsels the actuality is not always awful. She is one of 14 caregivers – the number fluctuates northwards – who shop for, wash, clean and, most fundamentally and importantly, communicate with these folks. For this caregiver, it’s not hard. She explains it away as having been blessed with a genetic form of Pollyanna-ism. She makes light work of chaos, finds dignity in awfulness.

But it’s not just the Pollyanna traits of its caregivers that has helped Circle of Life turn its first profit in 2011. It’s that Circle of Life caregivers are also members. Think of it as a circle of care. The member owners like Alice Turtle Robb are invested in their co-operative. They want to see their investment flourish. It is through this circle that motivation is kept high to provide excellent home care to elders and disabled, to give dignity, to these Heart Song people.

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