Natalie Kunkel
Texas Regional Director

Natalie’s Story

Growing up in a small town I did the things that small town kids to… I rode my bike to my grandparents house and learned wonderful life skills from each of them, I joined my Camp Fire Girls groups in visiting the nursing homes, my Sunday School Class went every holiday to sing to the seniors and so on.   I really took seniors for granted as a normal part of life, there was always a group of men sitting on the bench outside of the grocery store or visiting at the café.  The ladies had their meetings and volunteer work.  One of my best friends was our neighbor I call Aunt Marie – she taught me to respect nature and all of God’s creatures.

I went away to college to get an education that would allow me to make a difference in the lives of people around me, but I never expected to be on the path I have traveled since 1993.  My mission in life is not allow dementia to steal “normalcy” from our seniors.  There is something important about having a purpose and feeling useful …. And actually being useful.  Dementia causing diseases can only steal that if we allow it.  And at Arbor House that is just simply not allowed!

I have had many great mentors in my life’s journey; teachers, friends, professional, authors and such.  But the biggest footprints on my heart are left there from the residents that I call friends.  I am grateful to my mom, dad and Aunt Marie for teaching me the value of listening because it is from listening to and truly hearing our residents that our program has developed.  

Come experience the feeling of friendship that Arbor House has to offer!  And if you have questions about the dementia journey – contact me – I love to share what I have learned!