In a world where only one person in five gets to do what they do best every day, Debbie Pearson counts her blessings. Being a nurse has been her life’s work and her heartbeat for the past 40 years. Her ability to be a good listener, to be unflappable, and her deep caring for others all merged into a series of events that would impact her community and beyond. Following a long career in hospital nursing, Debbie transitioned to home health care and then to the world of case management. She launched Nurses Case Management (NCM) in 2000, in large part to address the growing and unmet need of care and advocacy for those who need assistance as a result of aging, injury, or illness.
The seeds of Age Your Way were planted when NCM was given guardianship over patients who were unable to decide for themselves what would happen next. Many of those individuals were unable to communicate their wishes, and so it was up to Debbie and her team to try and figure them out. “There’s an inherent frustration with that,” she says. “These are vulnerable human beings who have valuable information locked inside of what soothes them, what gives their life meaning, how can they best be helped. I worked with a lot of people and made life and death decisions without knowing their values. That’s a responsibility that can keep you awake nights.”
Her angst over this issue drove her to create the Age Your Way Blueprint that has an effective but easy to follow format for being able to accurately gather vital information and document how one wants their wishes carried out. “I did it first for Hank (her husband) and me,” she says. “When we sat down with our kids and explained it to them and took them through the blueprint, their response was so unabashedly grateful, I realized right then and there that this had a broader application.”
That epiphany has also led Debbie to write her first book, a companion piece to the blueprint. It is filled with stories – some inspiring and some cautionary – drawn from her many years in service to others in the healthcare field. The first book Age Your Way, was released in September 2016. The Blueprint to Age Your Way in early 2017
Debbie’s love for nursing has turned into a mission, with powerful tools that can help others, their families and their loved ones. It is all an extension of Debbie’s heartfelt belief that what lives on as our legacy is what’s in the hearts and minds of the people you leave behind.
“I want to make a difference and leave something valuable for others.”
Debbie lives in Texas with Hank. They have three children and eight grandchildren.