Q: What is your job here at AIM?
My title is Long Term Care Ombudsman Coordinator. To sum it up, I coordinate a state-funded program that provides advocacy for residents in adult care facilities. The program is made up of certified volunteers who visit these facilities to speak with residents and make sure their rights are being protected while receiving adequate care. A major duty of all certified ombudsmen is investigating and following up on complaints. I work closely with Abi Hodges, who is a certified Ombudsman Specialist, and together we cover facilities in both Steuben and Allegany counties. In total, we currently have 12 volunteers dispersed in these facilities, and Abi and I are standing coverage in the remaining uncovered facilities.
Q: What made you want to work in this field?
Well, I have a degree in social work, but always had an interest in gerontology. I'm sure most employees you speak with at AIM have a common theme: they love the fulfillment of helping others. And for me it is no different. In high school, I worked in a nursing home and later I worked at the Office for the Aging in Yates County, so this position seemed like a natural fit.
Q: What do you love about your job?
I love the idea of giving a voice to those who may not be empowered to do so. Residents in long-term care facilities often feel powerless and succumb to the wishes of the facility in which they reside. They are still individuals with likes and dislikes, who have a right to respect and quality care, all while keeping their dignity intact. By visiting these residents, you build rapport. When they come to you with a concern, it's a good feeling knowing you do all you can to help them.
Q: What are some of the difficulties?
Each situation is unique and often there are times where opinions differ. It can be quite difficult to get everyone involved to come together and then provide a solution that is to the liking of all parties. My role is resident-focused, so we try our best to help achieve a resolution that is in their best interest. However, the resolution may not always be to the resident's liking, which can also be difficult.
Q: What are some of your interests and hobbies outside of work?
I am a stepmother of twins, so much of my time is consumed by their baseball practice, karate practice and dance class. I also help coach a softball team. But my passion is working with horses, so all my "spare" time is spent with my four -- soon to be five -- equines.