Over the years, “Grandma” Carlota Rodriguez dreamed of being a nurse.
“I wanted to help and care for people who needed it,” said Grandma. “But I had to raise children and school for me to be a nurse was just not possible.”
Grandma’s daughters, Rosa Linda Rios and Oreo Flores, took their mother’s dreams and turned it into a family mission of caring, nurturing and providing love for some of San Antonio’s most challenged citizens.
The sisters both became registered nurses.
In 1999, they founded Casa de Amistad, an adult day care center and health services center at 1933 Fredericksburg Rd.
Grandma, 82, comes to work at the center each day to cook and prepare foods for their clients.
“Unfortunately, many of our clients do not have family,” said Rios. “Our family is on a mission, a legacy of love from our mother, to make people happy, see smiles on their faces, and take care of their special needs.”
Andy Flores, husband of Oreo, is the third RN on the staff often at the center.
“Many of our family members have worked here,” Rios smiled. “Even our grandchildren start here and learn very early on the values of caring for all people, no matter their age, no matter their needs.”
“It’s a blessing for our family because this is not just a job,” Rios explained. “It’s a mission to provide special kinds of care for all kinds of people.”
Case de Amistad has clearly developed expertise in working with individuals who are facing some of the most challenging times in their lives.
Large, floor to ceiling windows face Fredericksburg and Furr streets, on two sides of the facility. Smiles from staff and clients immediately greet any visitor who walks into the entrance doors.
The large activity room is filled with people playing dominoes, board games and crafts. The environment seems to handle the challenge of offering client-centered, tailored services for an array of individual needs.
Rios realizes that people “living with an aging parent, or someone with a serious illness can impact every part of your life.”
“People may experience new emotions or have spiritual concerns as they walk in our doors for the first time,” Rios commented. “In some instances, they feel hopeless and tell us we may be their last resort for help.”
“Caring for a family member or friend is not easy,” said Rios. “It something many people are not able, or prepared to do. We offer solutions to more expensive alternatives and also allow people to return home each evening.”
Casa de Amistad is open from 7am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.
“When we first started, I thought we would be helping Baby Boomers with their aging parents,” Rios reflected. “But now we recognize that, people of all ages—we have people in their 20s to age 100 here—need our help and want to be able to assist in those situations as well.”
“Being able to offer this service to the community is really just another means of carrying out the mission of our family.”
“I am religious,” Rios stated. “I wake up every morning and ask God to be more like Him, to share, and spread His love for these people, because if we don’t, who will?”
How has the business changed since they opened?
“We are finding more that people want to stay in their homes for as long as possible,” Rios answered. “They want to be surrounded by their personal things and family at home, but may need help with day-to-day activities.”
“These days, we care for parents of the children, and we care for adult children of the parents,” stated Rios.
Trends show that parents may move in before their children move out. Having children later in life has meant that parents reach an advanced age earlier in their children’s lives. Medical advances have enabled parents to live longer even as their capacity diminishes. Boomers often spend what used to be considered their most productive years caring for Mom or Dad.
“When my husband became too sick, we took care of him here,” said Grandma. “He died about five years ago and I said, well, I am not just going to set at home, I need to do something.”
“It’s very nice to work here with my family and cook for everyone,” Grandma smiles. “It makes me happy to see them happy.”
For more information, contact Casa de Amistad at 210 737-6955.
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