After 22 years of service to the elderly at Peabody Home in Franklin, and specifically those coping with the ravages of aging, Cheryl Barnes RN is hanging up her stethoscope and heading into retirement.
In 1998 she was hired as the Director of Nursing Services and has become a leading expert in the field of managing seniors suffering from the diseases that are broadly grouped as dementia but more importantly supporting them and their extended families through that process.
It wasn’t just mainstream medical care though; Cheryl sought out educational opportunities in complementary medicine centered around aromatherapy and reiki in addition to certification from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners as a Certified Dementia Practitioner and a Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Trainer in June 2018. Her training and leadership brought the Quality of Life award to Peabody Home in 2008, bestowed by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.
Peabody Home Executive Director Meg Miller illuminated the incredible length and breadth of Cheryl’s influence in the realm of elder care, stating, “After 22 years at Peabody Home, Cheryl has finally turned that magical retirement age of 65. Her unwavering stewardship has driven the culture here, one of care, support and love, all delivered in a home-like environment. She knew early on how important it is to support both residents, their families, and our staff. She has been selfless in her support of the many issues that come from leading a diverse group of over 30 nursing professionals.”
Her initiatives ranged far beyond the memories shared by countless families of loved ones who lived out their last years at Peabody Home. She worked as Director of Nursing at Epsom Manor Nursing and Retirement, Presidential Oaks (formerly Odd Fellows Home) in Concord, and prior to Peabody Home, Taylor Community in Laconia, racking up an impressive 30-year career.
Cheryl continues to provide mentorship to those newer to the field. She was a founding member of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care and is their sitting Board Treasurer. New Hampshire State President Kirsten Lyons says, “From my very first NADONA meeting in the Spring of 2017 I was warmly welcomed by Cheryl. She was tireless as an advocate and champion for our professional field, a respected and revered source for peer training, and certainly a voice to listen and learn from. We took back to our own facilities tools and techniques learned from her, to share with our own nursing staff. Cheryl led with the mantra of caring for residents as if they were part of her own family. Her compassion, kindness, and dedication is completely genuine.”
The pandemic robbed this great lady of the retirement party she deserved, but staff at Peabody Home still managed to hold a gathering, with remote access for many more who Zoomed in to join in the congratulations for her decades of service.
While letting go of the nursing care will be a challenge, she will devote her time to creative pursuits, consultancy work, and providing support and mentorship to up-and-coming gerontology specialists.