Siblings Carrie and Arthur Have Been Taking Care of Each Other for Nearly a Century
Mar 13, 2017 Cedars-Sinai Staff
For nearly a century, Carrie Gabriel and her brother, Arthur, have been taking care of each other.
The siblings grew up in the South, moved west in the 1940s, landed solid jobs with the city of Los Angeles and, for the past three decades, have shared a two-bedroom apartment in Mid-Wilshire.
In October, Arthur, 96, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. Determined not to be institutionalized, he opted against additional measures to prolong his life. He is on hospice care at home with Carrie, 95, who is his primary caregiver.
"I'm going to do what I need to do."
Caregiver is a role both Carrie and Arthur are familiar with.
Decades ago, they worked together to care for their mother when she fell ill. Several years after their mother died in 1983, Carrie faced medical problems of her own and it was Arthur who moved in to take care of his sister.
Then, 7 years ago, Arthur had open heart surgery. A few years later, he developed dementia. That's when Carrie became his primary caregiver.
Carrie is as sharp as the day she went to work for the Los Angeles Police Department 70 years ago, but admits that her days now are a lot to handle.
"I do get tired," Carrie said. Yet she plans to care for Arthur until his last day. "I'm going to do what I need to do."
Luckily, Carrie isn’t alone. She has the support of friends, neighbors, and a social worker. And then there is Dr. Sonja Rosen, a Cedars-Sinai geriatrician who has developed a close bond with the siblings.
"They are both inspiring human beings," said Dr. Rosen, who lives just five minutes away and used to visit her own grandmother in the same apartment complex where she now makes house calls to see Carrie and Arthur.