Nicolette Casula has let her love for people guide her to a brighter future. She describes herself as a “friendly, dedicated worker, committed to sharing her passion with others.” With her associate degree in sociology from Oklahoma City Community College, Casula knew that her first academic achievement would lead to another one.
“I am a free spirit who has a kind heart, with a deep passion for helping our elders,” said Casula. “My eyes have been opened to the many challenges our older population face. The curriculum in the Lifespan Care Administration program has fueled my passion and led me to not only serve our elders, but advocate for them as well.”
Casula acknowledges the benefits of being a PACS student made reaching her goals much easier. She could work full-time while taking online courses, found that her instructors were always helpful and benefited from being able to access student resources across campus. Casula mentioned that she really enjoyed professor John Campbell’s courses, as he was always ready with great feedback and fresh news from the field. She has been able to utilize her Lifespan Care knowledge even before graduating by finding a position in a memory care center.
“As students, we must educate ourselves so that we can educate the community.”
“Recently, I accepted a position for the Alzheimer’s Unit Program Director,” said Casula. “I am eager to develop a program that will benefit the residents, as activity programming is vital not just in memory care, but also in assisted living centers, nursing homes and independent living communities.”
Casula has learned through her coursework that the need to take care of our seniors is greater than ever, as the aging population has special issues facing them. During her studies, she sought out information on important topics regarding seniors, especially sources that focused on dementia.
“As students, we must educate ourselves so that we can educate the community,” said Casula. “Many people don't know the difficulties that families face when caring for their loved ones who have dementia. It's necessary that more information is made available to the public to prepare us all for the challenges that we face with this debilitating disorder.”
While she succeeds in both her studies and her profession, Casula knows that it takes a lot of support and backing to reach those goals. She appreciates all the help she received from her PACS professors, like John Campbell, citing his excellent focus on current issues that elders may face. She credits her husband, parents, sister and grandparents as being pillars of support during her academic adventure, but also knows that her own grit and determination have been vital as well.
“I keep myself motivated with positive thoughts and look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel. I have to remember that patience is key and success does not happen overnight," she said.
While it is true that success can be quite a journey, Casula is well on her way. While she says her greatest achievement thus far has been walking across the stage to get her associate degree, she is certain that her bachelor’s will give her an even greater sense of pride. As she starts her new career and completes her degree, she has not lost sight of her goal of sharing her passion for eldercare with others.
“I don’t care if I have to do the chicken dance 20 times a day," she said. "I enjoy brightening the day of my residents no matter what.”