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Parker and Mario

Parker met with a Care Manager from Renewal Care Partners for an assessment. “The questions the Care Manager asked me were very different from the ones the agencies asked. The conversation was about me — who I am, what I think I need. It was like a breath of fresh air.”

After completing his initial assessment, the Care Manager introduced Parker to Mario, a Care Partner. “I was amazed by how much we have in common,” Parker says. “I remember being in Mario’s shoes when I was starting out as an actor in New York.”

“I was inspired by Parker’s story,” Mario recalls. “It’s been a real pleasure working with him, and learning from him.”

Originally from outside the city, Mario moved to New York three years ago to pursue his interest in acting. He’s performed in a variety of productions at venues including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Most recently, he played the role of Adolfo Pirelli in a production of Sweeney Todd showing at the Count Basie Theatre.

But just like Parker in the fifties, Mario needed a day job. When presented with the opportunity to join Renewal Care Partners, he knew it was the right fit. “For several years I was a family caregiver, so becoming a Care Partner was second nature to me.”

He completed training on providing long-term care for seniors and people with cognitive and physical impairments. “In addition to acting, working in health care has always been another interest of mine,” he says. “As an artist, I put my heart and soul into everything I do. Between acting and caregiving, I’m blessed to have work I’m truly passionate about.”

Mario has been meeting with Parker three times each week. They go on walks together, often bringing Parker’s dog Rosie. “My doctors have said exercise is important, and I enjoy having someone to walk with,” Parker says.

Mario also accompanies Parker on trips to the grocery store, where Mario helps Parker manage his diabetes by making healthy food choices. “The important thing is to partner with people you care for, not tell them what to do,” Mario says.

Mario also reminds Parker to take medications when they are together. “It can be a lot to keep track of,” Parker says. When Parker runs low on medications, Mario will sometimes escort him to the pharmacist for refills.

Parker and Mario also spend time together in Parker’s apartment, where Mario occasionally helps with light housekeeping and other errands. “I don’t think of it as a job,” Mario says. “We enjoy spending time together, talking about theater and whatever’s going on in the world. Some of the best advice I’ve gotten has been from Parker.”

“I can’t say enough how wonderful my experience with Mario has been,” Parker says. “I hope others have as much luck as I have if they find themselves needing some help.”