As Mitzie Richardson helps a resident with their medication at The Chelsea at Warren, the resident is informed that Mitzie and her sister, Fiona Clarke-Neverson, have been working at the community for 20 years.
“I don’t think I’ve seen your sister,” the resident said.
“You’ll meet her,” Mitzie said. “Maybe you don’t know her face.”
It may also be because they have two very different personalities. Mitzie is energetic and talkative. Fiona is more reserved and relaxed.
“She talks a lot to be honest,” Fiona said bursting out laughing. “We could almost talk to each other just by looking.”
“We have a good relationship,” Mitzie said. “Every day we’re on the phone.”
The sisters typically work opposite schedules in the Country Cottage, Chelsea’s Memory Care community, ever since Fiona became part time.
In 2001, Fiona came across an advertisement in the paper for job openings at The Chelsea at Warren. She told Mitzie, and after applying, they were both hired as Certified Home Health Aides (CHHA).
It wasn’t long before they became Certified Medication Aides (CMA) with Mitzie taking on the Lead role in the Country Cottage.
“It’s been great so far,” Mitzie said. ““It feels just like our home with the residents because every day when you get up and out of your bed, you’re coming to help somebody.”
“I love it there,” Fiona said. “There’s something about the residents in the Country Cottage. This minute they’ll be mad at you and five minutes you go back and you’re their best friend.”
Fiona and Mitzie never planned on making this a career growing up in Trelawney, Jamaica. They went to a boarding school there and jumped at an opportunity to come to the United States.
Fiona, older by a couple years, was always interested in art and design. Instead, she enlisted in the Army, where they allowed her to express her creative side by designing logos and other items.
Mitzie was interested in business, but soon after graduating high school, she moved in with family in Brooklyn, New York and her career aspirations changed.
Both Mitzie and Fiona became interested in health care.
“It’s all about that love I could render to someone,” Fiona said.
She’s been rendering that love for 20 years with her sister to the residents at The Chelsea at Warren.
“I feel like I’m almost taking care of my grandmother because me and my grandmother had a close relationship,” Mitzie said. “I feel like I’m coming here to take care of my grandmother or somebody in my family.”
Mitzie shares her affection through nicknames; she calls one resident “The Boss;” another “The Teacher;” and another, simply, “Mom.”
These relationships have extended for years and transferred from one resident to the next. When Fiona was pregnant with her second child, the entire Country Cottage community threw her a memorable baby shower.
“We’re all like family, we’re all close. We’re family,” Fiona said. “When you like the people you work with you know what they like, what they don’t like. You get to know everybody – even each resident – they’re all different. What they will do, what they won’t do. It becomes that close.”
After caring for people for so many years, Mitzie and Fiona were both celebrated, naturally, together with friends, family, and coworkers.
“To be here 20 years is passed my expectation,” Mitzie said. “I’m here for my residents – that’s my number one goal. I’m coming here for them.”