ASSISTED LIVING MEMORY CARE MANAGER
Debra Stegall – Caring for residents since 1982
Working at Christian City is a ministry for me. I was chosen by God to care for His people, and that is the reason for my long duration here. I feel that Christian City impacts the lives of our residents by providing them with a quality home where their spiritual, social, and medical needs are met.
My journey at Christian City began in June 1982 after I graduated from Newnan High School in June 1981. After asking my mom to help me find a job where I would be in a Christian environment, I landed my Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) position at Christian City where I worked as a CNA from 1982 to 1985 while attending nursing school at Atlanta Area Tech. I became a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at Christian City in 1985.
At that time, LPNs worked evenings and nights on 3-11pm and 11pm-7am shifts. Only RNs worked the 7am-3pm shift. In 1986, I became pregnant. Instead of having morning sickness, I had evening sickness; and I was unable to continue working on the 3-11 shift. Thankfully, I was offered a position that was being vacated by an RN on the 7-3 shift – management of the Alzheimer’s (Wilkerson) Cottage at Christian City, and I’ve been managing Memory Care ever since. Today, I’m certified in Alzheimer’s care as a Certified Dementia Practitioner.
Memory Care sometimes spans generations and multiple members of the same family. Over the past three decades…
…at Christian City, I’ve taken care of a mother, and later down the road, her daughter. I’ve done the same for a husband and wife.
My goal for Memory Care is to provide residents with the care they deserve and keep them functioning at the highest level possible. While some people question how we are able do this work day after day, I find it rewarding to get into their world and make them happy. Also, I am blessed to have a family that believes in the work I do and supports me.
In December 1984, I met my husband, Ray, at Christian City through a mutual friend. Ray proposed to me in March 1985, and we were married in September 1985.
My family is God’s gift to me. Ray and I have three sons and one adopted daughter. Our oldest son is a music teacher. He is married, and they have a daughter. Our middle son is a producer and associate instructor in music. He is married, and they live in Abu Dhabi. Our youngest son is working on a fellowship for the Hudson River Museum. Our daughter is in 10th grade in high school.
I thank God for my husband who is always there for me. When I need volunteer help at Christian City, he gives me the support I need. He enjoys cooking; so when I need someone to handle the grilling for an event at work, Ray is always ready. His male chorus has visited Christian City to sing for our assisted living residents.
Years ago, my husband and I began sharing our family by being a host family for children living at Christian City. We would take the children to our home for weekend, summer, and holiday visits. But that just wasn’t enough, so we became foster parents for Coweta County 2004 and continue to the present. I am also a board member for the Coweta County Foster Parent Association.
Ray and I are adoptive parents and foster parents. Over the years, we have fostered about 25 children, including the five foster children currently in our home. In December 2004, this beautiful little 2-year old came into foster care, and she was placed in our home. When she came up for adoption, we couldn’t let her go, even though she had challenges. We made the decision to adopt her.
My husband and I attended classes at the Marcus Institute in Atlanta to learn to manage a child with ADHD, and the techniques we learned were extremely helpful. Our daughter is now 16 years old. She is a praise dancer, and an energetic young lady who is willing to help whomever she can! Our daughter brought excitement and blessings to our family and church family, and she loves her big brothers. While they have spoiled her with attention, our sons have set a great example for our daughter.
Our family is active and always seems to have something interesting going on! In November 2016, we were blessed with the opportunity to be on the Family Feud television game show. I auditioned with my family, but I didn’t participate in the show. Instead, I afforded my daughter-in-law the chance to play, and they won the $20,000 prize!
As I continue to work at Christian City, I pray, before starting my daily duty, that I will make sure God’s will is done in my life each day. My aim each day is to make a difference in someone’s life to help them reach their highest potential. I know that God will provide me with what I need to meet the residents’ needs. He always has! For anyone considering fostering or adopting a child, I say, “Just do it!” The need is great and so is the blessing.