The registered nurse and her husband Lucian enjoy operating an adult-care home
Several adult-care homes in the Tigard area literally came into being as an after-effect of the 1989 Romanian revolution.
Three couples who now operate homes in the area fled the country after the revolution and started new lives, leaving behind family members and careers.
For those who have forgotten their Romanian history, the short-lived conflict consisted of a series of protests and riots across the country in December 1989 that overthrew the communist government in a matter of weeks; the dictator was forced to flee but was captured, found guilty and executed on Christmas Day.
Romania was left with economic problems and a decline in living standards but started on the road to democracy and working toward a capitalist market economy.
Many people left and applied for U.S. visas, and the lucky ones arrived in the U.S. to start new lives.
Garden Home Senior Care
Simona Matia became a registered nurse for the first time while living in Romania and worked for two years until 1989, when the communist regime fell; in the winter of 1990, she married her husband Lucian, and they left the country for Paris.
"The borders were opened, and we went to visit a relative in Paris and never went back," Simona said. "There were lots of Romanians in Paris on their way to the U.S. We were there for 11 months waiting for our visas - it was a very adventurous first year of marriage."
Lucian had sisters in Tigard, which is why they ended up there, and the idea of operating an adult-care home wasn't foreign to Simona because "a lot of Romanians run care homes, and over there, everybody grows up in the same house," she said.
But first Simona pursued her nursing career, working as a certified nursing assistant for two years while studying for her nursing license.
"Over the years, I got my RN license and worked in different settings of healthcare, rehabilitation, skilled nursing, operating rooms and home health while maintaining my care home," said Simona, who went on to have two sons, who are now 17 and 12.
The couple decided to open their first adult-care home in part so Simona could practice her profession and be home with the children.
"Taking care of people comes naturally to me as part of my culture," she said. "Back home we lived with the extended family where grandparents took care of the grandkids, and later kids took care of the grandparents in the same house. This made everybody feel good because they were able to remain in the home with family.
Three years ago, the couple sold their first care home and opened the one they now live in and operate with room for five residents.
"The adult-care homes here make such a big difference in the lives of people who need care and cannot be in their own homes any longer," Simona said.
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