Nadine Roberts Cornish is a proud native of the South, born and raised in the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana—more specifically, the St. Bernard housing projects of the 7th Ward. We all have specific gifts, imbued in us to guide our vocational choices and share with the world if we choose to do so. Nadine’s gift is that of nurture, and it has inspired her involvement in each of her career choices, including being a Caregiver Coach, consultant, author, and speaker.
A focus on public health
“My background was in public health, so it prepared me for my most important work of caring for my mother, who was diagnosed with a pituitary brain tumor at 58 years of age,” Nadine says. “That 15-year journey would lead me to recognize the higher calling that had been placed on my life. Caring for my mother was the training ground that prepared me to launch my business, The Caregiver’s Guardian, LLC, to support family caregivers around the country.”
In addition to being able to properly care for her mother, working in public health allowed Nadine to take a position as a Social Marketing and Ethnic Consultant, where she worked on several powerful campaigns for the State of California, including a prenatal care awareness campaign. “For more than a decade, I consulted on BabyCal, the state’s prenatal care awareness campaign,” she recounts. “This was a direct effort to impact infant mortality and morbidity by ensuring women, specifically women of color, received early, free, accessible prenatal care. The work we did helped lower infant mortality rates in the State of California.” Nadine was also engaged in the AIDS education, prevention, and case management sector, as women were first starting to be diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Northern California. “As a Program Manager, I was responsible for securing grant funds to provide desperately needed services for women and children. This experience exposed and allowed me to recognize and eliminate my own biases based on gender and socio-economic factors.”
The business of caregiving
After taking part in these groundbreaking initiatives, Nadine sought to make her mark with her own business, The Caregiver’s Guardian, LLC. Its mission is to “educate, inspire, support, identify resources, and encourage the caregiver while insisting that the most important care they provide is self-care.” This aspect of caregiving is often overlooked. Nadine shares, “For the past eleven years, I’ve worked with Caregivers around the country. What makes me most proud is that so many of those caregivers are recognizing that caregiving is an honor, and they best demonstrate their love by first taking care of themselves. Too many caregivers die before the person they’re caring for. I’m on a mission to make sure that doesn’t happen to the caregivers I encounter.”
Authoring “My Gumbo” books
To capture her stories, concepts, and advice to other caregivers, Nadine has written two books: Tears In My Gumbo: The Caregiver’s Recipe for Resilience, and the about-to-be released book, Prayers In My Gumbo: The Caregiver’s Recipe for Peace. The titles are a nod to her New Orleans’ heritage and the vast array of ingredients needed for the creole delicacy, just as a wide array of tools are required for caregiving. (Both books are available on Amazon.com and tcgcares.com.)
We have the power to choose
Outside of her work and writing, Nadine loves being physically active, traveling, and spending time with her family. She is looking forward to turning 60 next year and believes taking care of yourself in all ways is essential. “We have the power to choose what our aging experience will be, but too many of us don’t,” she posits. “I believe that aging truly is a state of mind. As I look forward to my 60th rotation around the sun, I welcome it with youthful vigor and vitality, thrilled to be active, healthy, energetic, and vibrant. It’s a decision I made a long time ago, along with a commitment to take care of myself physically, spiritually, and emotionally.”
Of all her life lessons, Nadine encourages others to understand that everything is about the mindset you hold. “Think you’re too old? Then you are. Think you’re seasoned just right and experienced enough to take on the world? Then you are. It’s simply a mindset, and you get to choose. Hold on to your dreams, know your purpose, stay spiritually grounded, and know that in the appropriate season, your purpose will be actualized.”
Angelle Fouther and Daryn Fouther
Read more about other older adults who are making a difference.