When you think about people with passion and compassion Rita May Ranck is a great example. Rita May is a Registered Nurse who moved to Summerville in the fall of 1998 when her husband received a job transfer. Within a month she was employed as a hospice nurse. Rita May told me that she loved everything about working with hospice patients but became very frustrated because patients and their families needed more than what hospice provided. “I was always trying to help find someone who could stay with the patient so that their main caregiver could go to their own doctor appointments, shopping, or just have a break from the rigors of caregiving or get some sleep at night. There were very few options for this type of service at that time,” Rita May said.

She eventually decided that she would start a company to provide this type of service to hospice patients or anyone else needing help in caring for their loved ones. Without any formal business training or experience, she moved forward with a goal in mind and a commitment. In November 2002 Caregivers Unlimited accepted their first client.

Caregivers Unlimited provides non-medical care for people who want to remain independent in their own homes; helping with everyday tasks such as showering or bathing, meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and sometimes just providing companionship. The clients and the Caregivers Unlimited staff form a bond that’s almost as strong as a family at times. After 14 years they have served over six hundred clients. They strive to provide a service that allows seniors to retain their dignity and as much independence as possible.

Rita May says she has a love for seniors which she can’t explain. “I have had it for as long as I can remember,” she explains. “When I was thirteen it was my chore to walk to Great Aunt Betty’s house every evening. She was my grandfather’s sister. I would sleep at her house and help her get breakfast in the morning. After breakfast, I would walk home and get ready for school. On weekends she and I would be dropped off at a grocery store and I would help her shop. She was my first client. Some people love horses or other animals. I love seniors. Sometimes when I’m out with my husband at a restaurant there will be a ‘cute’ older couple at a nearby table and I’ll ask my husband if we can bring them home. He just gives me the ‘you’re crazy’ look.”

Rita May and her husband Jim have been married for thirty-five years. They have three natural-born children and then in the early nineties adopted another child from Romania. Their adopted son passed away after being in the family for five years. Their three adult children all live in Summerville. Rita May and Jim are blessed with six grandchildren. They are members of Crossroads Community Church where Jim serves as an elder. They both serve on the Missions Team and have gone on several mission trips. Rita May is a member of the Summerville Republican Women’s Club, Embroiderers Guild of America, a graduate of Leadership Dorchester 2014 and currently serves on the Dorchester County Parks and Recreation Commission.

In closing, Rita May asks that everyone try to pay a little more attention to the seniors in the community. Many are lonely and just a five minute conversation would brighten their day.