Women's History Month: Part Two

As we make it through another week in March, it's time to celebrate more incredible women! We are so honored to share these resident stories in celebration of Women's History Month.

Meet Barbara Carnal — resident of Truewood by Merrill, Scottsdale (AZ). 

Barbara is an amazing resident, friend and resource who gives back to our Truewood community on a regular basis — she holds wonderful lectures to utilize her superior teaching skills for residents. Upon graduating from DePauw University in 1963 with a B.A. in French and a minor in psychology, Barbara married and remained at home raising her biological son and adopted daughter. Her husband worked for Ford Motor Company which took them to many exciting places like São Paulo, Brazil. She and her family lived in Brazil for three years, engaging in local activities, traveling and exploring. Barbara volunteered as a Girl Scout leader and taught American Art History while living in Brazil. Upon returning to the United States, Barbara obtained a grant for two years of study at Bowling Green University in Ohio. At the age of 47, Barbara graduated with a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and for the first time in her life maintained a full time work schedule. She worked as a professional counselor specializing in child and family well-being. In addition to starting her career, Barbara also adopted another child. 

Barbara continued to focus on her counseling work eventually trademarking Patchwork Family ®, which included family strengthening for all members of the family . This was a new concept in counseling as all family members would meet as a group as opposed to one-on-one therapy. Counseling has never felt like a job for Barbara, it’s her life! Eventually, Barbara moved to Hilton Head Island, SC and brought Patchwork Family ® with her. She would meet with clients, but in between appointments she would sit on the beach enjoying beach life while collecting sea shells. As her career blossomed, Barbara expanded her brand and traveled nationally as a public speaker. Barbara has never officially retired, but when she decided to slow things down she built a cottage at a nature retreat center in South Carolina. She continued to see patients who traveled to the nature center to meet with her. She also wrote articles for family newspapers and journals while living at the cottage. In 2006, Barbara was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. She eventually moved to Arizona to be closer to her family. Barbara is currently working on a book about family and life purpose.


Next up, meet Janice Kersgaard, resident of Merrill Gardens at Sheldon Park (OR). Here is what Janice shared with us...

"I always wanted to be a nurse and wanted to share God's love with others. I became a nurse and midwife. I worked in Kentucky Appalachia and on the Navajo reservation in the 1970s before arriving in Pakistan in 1977. I studied Urdu and Pushtu and began working and teaching nursing and midwifery in a hospital 100 miles from the Afghan border. We were there during the USSR occupation of Afghanistan and treated many refugees and freedom fighters as well as many Pakistani — we were also there on 9/11/2001. I came back to the states in 2009 after 32 years. In retirement, I taught CNA students for 12 years at Lane Community College. My last class was August of 2022. I moved into Merrill Gardens on July 4, 2023."

Janice shared this picture with us of where she traveled to:


The last resident we'd like to introduce is Nerissa Forbes-Cachero — resident of Merrill Gardens at West Covina in California.

Nerissa Forbes-Cachero, known as Nerri, graduated from the Philippine Normal College with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree. Later she attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis where she earned a Master of Arts degree in Education. She taught elementary school in Bataan, JASMS (Philippine Women's University), and Philippine Christian College before studying abroad. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, she taught school in Iowa and Minnesota.

When she returned to the Philippines, she became an instructor in the Laboratory School of the Philippine Normal College. She also taught summer school at Silliman University. She then immigrated to Canada where she taught elementary school until her recent early retirement. During her teaching career, she has done extensive work in choral speech and reader's theater with Canadian school children. She has written a series of children workbooks for developing strong comprehension skills for first to sixth graders. They are very popular in schools through out the Philippines.

Since moving to Merrill Gardens, she loves living closer to her kids and siblings. She has made wonderful friendships with the other residents and is very involved in the church. She also really enjoys the fun activities and outings that Merrill provides. Nerri is such a kind soul and is welcoming to anyone she meets.


Thank you to all of these incredible residents for allowing us to share their stories with the world! In addition, a huge thank you to the team members for sending them in. Happy Women's History Month!


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