Taking Care.

Photo by Dominik Lange on Unsplash

To download these free stories, please enter the newspaper publication you represent with your email address.
We will email you when we add new stories each month. Thanks!

Note: We are committed to keeping your e-mail address confidential. We do not sell, rent, or lease our contact data or lists to third parties.
Please see our privacy policy for details.

Please enter your organization and email above before downloading these articles.

Download PDF Word .doc Download Photo .jpg

Pass It On®

Taking Care.
How one woman turned a life of neglect into a lifetime of taking care of people.

By The Foundation for a Better Life

Life never really turns out the way we expect it to. We have dreams and expectations. And dream-come-true stories are everywhere — except, it may seem, in our own lives.

It would be easy for most of us to feel like we somehow got shorted in life. Not Barbara. As a child, Barbara never quite found the bond with her parents that all children need. Her father left the family early, and Barbara’s mother worked menial jobs and jumped from marriage to marriage.

Barbara looked for stability in marriage herself, hoping a husband could share the load and fill in the empty spaces of her life. But soon after her son was born, her husband left, and Barbara now had two people to take care of on her own.

“I couldn’t let my life keep me from caring about other people,” she says. “Maybe it’s unfair or just the way it turns out for people, but I still had a son.”

Barbara raised her son the best she knew how and “he turned out pretty well,” she says, smiling. And after the hard years of making ends meet and giving him a good start, she made a career change.

“I never thought I was supposed to feel sorry for myself,” she says. “And I like people.”

Barbara became an in-home caregiver for elderly people in their last year of life. She spends 10-hour days, six days a week, with people who have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, sometimes sleeping on their couch when they are afraid to spend a night alone. Most don’t have families close by, and Barbara becomes the one person they rely on for everything: meals, bathing, bathroom duties, daily walks if they are capable, cognitive exercises like crossword puzzles and re-learning family faces.

She only charges what the family can afford and only works with one client at a time. “They become the family I never had, over and over again,” she says, laughing.

The spaces left empty by Barbra’s childhood are filled with memories shared with her from lives waning in the twilight. For 30 years, she has been making people feel good at a time when most would just be waiting to pass, alone and unnoticed. To see their faces when they are with Barbara, you’d think the last years were the best.

“I’ve found something I never had,” Barbara says. “We make each other happy.”

Family... PassItOn.com®

Copyright ©2022 The Foundation for a Better Life. All rights reserved. Available under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License (international): https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Pass It On®

The Foundation for a Better Life, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, gives your newspaper permission to publish these stories in print and electronic media (excluding audio and video), provided the stories are published in their entirety, without modification and including the copyright notice. For any modification, permission must first be obtained from the Foundation by emailing media-relations@passiton.com. Thank you.

  email

Your Comments
Here are some other inspiring newspaper articles you might like.
Education is for Everyone.

Education is for Everyone.
Reading and writing are the basics of an education. See why a 90-year-old Kenyan great-grandmother went back to primary school.

Listening to the Music Inside.

Listening to the Music Inside.
The long journey of Maria Tallchief from the Osage Nation in Oklahoma to prima ballerina in New York City.

Beatrice Shilling

Beatrice Shilling
The motorcycle daredevil who became a mechanical engineer and saved the lives of countless pilots in WWll.

Being a Mother…

Being a Mother…
The roundabout journey to a dream fulfilled.

An Impossible Journey.

An Impossible Journey.
How John Wesley Powell navigated the Colorado River and Grand Canyon in wooden boats.

Billy Mills

Billy Mills
The story behind America’s first and only 10,000-meter Olympic champion.

Ramping Up to Help those in Need.

Ramping Up to Help those in Need.
How a community came together in a time of tragedy.

Going Deep to Deliver Kindness.

Going Deep to Deliver Kindness.
Free-dive record holder Enzo Maiorca rescues a trapped dolphin, then watches as it gives birth.

How Far Would you go for a Friend?

How Far Would you go for a Friend?
The story of Dindim, the penguin who travels 5,000 miles every year to visit with its rescuer.

For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.

For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.
How just noticing makes all the difference in the world.

The World Awaits You.

The World Awaits You.
The story of the first woman to circumnavigate the world.

The Curse of Texting and Driving.

The Curse of Texting and Driving.
How one father turned personal tragedy into triumph for thousands of teenagers by creating the Honor Connor Scholarship Fund.

Bringing the Moon to your Living Room.

Bringing the Moon to your Living Room.
How 14-year-old Philo Farnsworth tinkered his way to the technology that broadcast the moon landing.

Are You Smarter Than a Seventh-Grade Business Owner?

Are You Smarter Than a Seventh-Grade Business Owner?
How Kidpreneur Alejandro Buxton is making money for college and helping others.

Playtime is for Everybody.

Playtime is for Everybody.
A dad sells off his business and builds a theme park for disabled kids.

To Stay or Run?

To Stay or Run?
The courageous story of a collegiate wrestler who fought a grizzly bear to save a friend. With thanks to the Cowboy State Daily.

The Least Likely to Help.

The Least Likely to Help.
How a bedridden attorney still fights for the rights of others.

The History of Us.

The History of Us.
How a football coach develops young men by teaching them their own history.

Road Trip Across America.

Road Trip Across America.
A discovery of what unites us.

Recognizing the Need.

Recognizing the Need.
How a neighbor took a disaffected young man under his wing and taught him how to be a man

A Hero for Accessibility.

A Hero for Accessibility.
How an 8-year-old girl captured the attention of the nation and motivated Congress.

Turning Tough News Into Hope.

Turning Tough News Into Hope.
How 11-year-old Jordan Phillips raised $120,000 to help fund cancer treatment.

Going the Distance.

Going the Distance.
Why top collegiate and professional athlete Dillon Shije will never stop running for his people.

A Diamond in the Making.

A Diamond in the Making.
How an everyday superhero saved the day by taking time to go through the garbage to find a stranger’s wedding ring.

The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.

The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.
The Hidden Figure who Helped Put a man on the Moon.

Taking Care of the Most Vulnerable.

Taking Care of the Most Vulnerable.
Pam Tully dedicates 6 months a year to rescuing baby flying foxes alongside the volunteers who help her.

A Lesson We Should Never Forget.

A Lesson We Should Never Forget.
The incredible story of American POWs smuggling rations to Russian prisoners at Stalag-B.

When the World Says You Can’t, Listen to the Inner Voice that Says You Can.

When the World Says You Can’t, Listen to the Inner Voice that Says You Can.
The legacy of Susan La Flesche, the first Native American to earn a medical degree.

Finding Our Way.

Finding Our Way.
Using the natural elements around her, Kala Baybayan Tanaka navigates the ocean in a canoe for up to three weeks using nothing but observations of the natural elements around her.

Born to Make a Difference.

Born to Make a Difference.
Kids who are changing their world.

It’s Not Your Lifespan, it’s Your Wingspan.

It’s Not Your Lifespan, it’s Your Wingspan.
How one girl’s 16 years of life impacts thousands.

Let the Music Move You.

Let the Music Move You.
Bob Geldof has spent a lifetime seeking harmony in the world.

A Most Unlikely Friendship.

A Most Unlikely Friendship.
How the war in Ukraine brought two families together from opposite sides.

The Science of Happiness.

The Science of Happiness.
How a high school senior made sure an entire elementary school got Halloween.

Courage in a New World.

Courage in a New World.
The story of Stagecoach Mary, the first Black woman to deliver mail in the Wild West.

Teamwork that Saves Lives.

Teamwork that Saves Lives.
How a high school baseball team lifted a car off one of their classmates pinned underneath.

The Last Person you Think of Should Probably be the First.

The Last Person you Think of Should Probably be the First.
How a group of high school boys practiced the art of inclusion.

Beyond the Moon with an Eye on Mars.

Beyond the Moon with an Eye on Mars.
The story of a young woman who dreamed of pushing the boundaries and now designs launch systems for NASA.

Sometimes the Wrong Direction is the Right Way.

Sometimes the Wrong Direction is the Right Way.
How a wrong number, a wrong text and a mix-up led to long-lasting friendships.

More Than Just Dancing

More Than Just Dancing
How inclusion helps overcome mental illness.

Cross Safely.

Cross Safely.
How one man made sure his retirement years were spent helping kids move safely through life.

Taking Responsibility.

Taking Responsibility.
How one high school student supported her family during the pandemic.

The Brotherhood in Sports Goes Beyond the Field.

The Brotherhood in Sports Goes Beyond the Field.
How a men’s rugby team supported one of their own.

Reach for the Stars…

Reach for the Stars…
No Matter How Long it Takes.

If You Love Dogs, You’ll Love this Story.

If You Love Dogs, You’ll Love this Story.
A German shepherd slept at his owner’s gravesite.

Finding a New Family at the Mountain Man Rendezvous.

Finding a New Family at the Mountain Man Rendezvous.
How a Vietnam vet pulled himself out of drug addiction by going back in the past.

Laughter is the Best Teacher.

Laughter is the Best Teacher.
How humor and history go together in this classroom.

How to Honor Your Mother.

How to Honor Your Mother.
Warrick Dunn played in the NFL for 12 seasons. His most impressive stat: He’s built 200 homes for single mothers. And he’s not done.

Never Give Up.

Never Give Up.
Lessons learned from Preston Tucker, creator of one of the most innovative cars in American history.

Don’t Let a Bad Day Trick You Into Believing You Have a Bad Life.

Don’t Let a Bad Day Trick You Into Believing You Have a Bad Life.
Allie Newman not only survived cancer but also helps hospitals better meet the needs of teenage cancer patients.

Living Alone doesn’t Mean you Have to be Lonely.

Living Alone doesn’t Mean you Have to be Lonely.
How a community in Maine supports those who want to be left alone.

The Future Belongs to Kids.

The Future Belongs to Kids.
So far, things look pretty bright.

Let the Kids Give it a Try

Let the Kids Give it a Try
How 17-year-old Dasia Taylor developed sutures that detect infection.

Bigger than Life.

Bigger than Life.
How Premier League superstar Sadio Mané is changing the world beyond soccer.

No Strings Attached.

No Strings Attached.
How a 7-year-old girl brings joy to neighbors with her violin.

Stay Curious.

Stay Curious.
The remarkable underwater life of Jacques Cousteau.

For Soccer Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Every Day is Mother’s Day.

For Soccer Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Every Day is Mother’s Day.
Fortune and fame have allowed the soccer great to take care of his mother after all she has done for him.

Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.

Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.
Kaelin Clay made an unpardonable error in football. And he owned it.

The Art of Pitching.

The Art of Pitching.
A little confidence at the right time goes a long way.

Our Local Heroes in Scrubs.

Our Local Heroes in Scrubs.
How health care workers saved the day.

Including Everybody Means Everybody.

Including Everybody Means Everybody.
How Inclusion Films is making movies using crew with developmental disabilities.

Using the Write Words

Using the Write Words
How an African American Woman Wrote her Way to Freedom.

Photographs that Changed the World.

Photographs that Changed the World.
How the searing photographs of Walker Evans’ America during the Depression created a national change in attitude toward the poor.

Everybody Can Be a Hero.

Everybody Can Be a Hero.
How window cleaners brightened the day at a children’s hospital.

A Custom of Respect.

A Custom of Respect.
How the Japanese soccer team brings sportsmanship to the game.

Something Healthy for All of Us

Something Healthy for All of Us
How 17-year-old Barron Prize Winners Annie and Shirley Zhu provide fresh food for 1,400 people a year.

Everybody Gets on Base.

Everybody Gets on Base.
Measuring the victories of life, one single at a time.

Never, Ever Give Up.

Never, Ever Give Up.
The incredible story of the 12-year-old cancer patient who brings joy to half a million children fighting cancer.

No Matter Who You Are, You Can Always Help.

No Matter Who You Are, You Can Always Help.
The day Muhammad Ali rushed to save a stranger who was about to take his own life.

Fix it Yourself.

Fix it Yourself.
How one couple moved hundreds of miles from home to run a center for pregnant teenage girls.

You’re Never Too Old to Make a Difference.

You’re Never Too Old to Make a Difference.
British WWll veteran Captain Tom Moore raised over $45 million for charity at age 100.

The Little Things that Make the Biggest Difference.

The Little Things that Make the Biggest Difference.
How one man created a forest the size of Central Park by planting one tree a day.

Give Peace a Chance.

Give Peace a Chance.
How a Mexican-American Marine negotiated peace speaking Japanese during WWll.