Respect for Others
At all times, we are respectful of participants, volunteers, donors, visitors, vendors, co-workers, and others, demonstrating civility and an appreciation for the dignity of all people.
Tamara Salley is a Senior Services Home Care Aide who brings the Senior Services mission and core value of “Respect for Others” to life. A critical part of helping older adults live with dignity is treating them with respect. Tamara primarily provides care to participants who are bed bound and are unable to perform most activities of daily living without assistance. She consistently provides high-quality care in a patient, positive, respectful manner that demonstrates the dignity that participants deserve. Tamara says that dignity and respect go hand in hand. “It’s not hard to be respectful. I speak to people the way that I want to be spoken to, and I provide personal care the way that I would want someone to care for me.”
Salley has been a Certified Nursing Assistant since 2004. She said that after attending Dudley Cosmetology University in 2003, she realized that she was, “a jack of all trades with a passion for taking care of people.” “I noticed that I wanted to have my hands in everything that I could to help people feel their best. Becoming a CNA after attending cosmetology school was an additional way that I could do that.”
Prior to joining Senior Services as a Home Care Aide in 2015, Tamara worked as a CNA in a hospital setting. “I enjoyed the opportunity to take care of people, but I started to need a change of scenery. In a hospital, a CNA may not have time to be as personable as they would like. They are likely to have a large number of patients and have to work at a much faster pace. That doesn’t leave much time to connect with patients on a personal level. Just as I was starting to get restless, a friend of mine shared a post on Facebook about how much she loved her job at Senior Services. I decided to apply, and the rest is history.”
“One of the reasons that I appreciate working at Senior Services is that respect is important to leadership. I feel like they create an environment for mutual respect. Our supervisors treat us like family. If an issue arises, they don’t ignore it and leave us to figure it out. They acknowledge the issue, and work towards getting it resolved. I know that they will not put us in situations that they wouldn’t want to be in themselves. If we are feeling overwhelmed, they collaborate with us to find solutions, and ask, ‘What can we do to help?’ I know that they respect the work that we do as CNAs. I feel valued.”
Tamara finds a great sense of fulfillment at Senior Services, a setting where she can provide care for one participant at a time. “I love being able to form a deeper connection with the seniors we help support. We provide one on one care in the participant’s home. I can move at a pace that allows me to cultivate relationships with each person through conversations. I can let them know that I see them, and I care. I have time to be patient with them and allow them to have input in their care. I’m not in such a hurry to move on to the next patient that I feel forced to rush in and tell them what we’re doing and how we’re going to do it just so that I can move on to the next person. With each Home Care participant, I take the time to ‘ask before I do.’ This shows the participant respect and gives them the dignity of choice. I take time for conversations that allow them to communicate their wishes, and I respect their choices.”
Speaking of conversations, while speaking with Tamara, one will quickly notice that she is a very good communicator. In addition to her knack for compassion, Tamara uses words and a pleasant tone of voice to set an atmosphere for respect. “My father was a Senior pastor of a local church. Growing up, my family was taught to be cordial in how we spoke to people and that you give respect to earn respect.” When asked if being a good communicator came naturally, Tamara said that she came from a talkative family, but was generally a quiet child. “I learned the importance of good communication when I worked as a med-tech. It was important to communicate clearly and respectfully with other medical professionals.”
Overtime, Tamara has learned that people, in general, may be going through personal challenges that affect their tone and communication in ways that may not demonstrate respect. When this happens, Tamara extends extra grace and compassion. “If I find myself dealing with a difficult personal matter, I do not take it with me into the participant’s home. I don’t allow what I’m going through to affect their care. But I also understand that the participant’s themselves may go through difficult situations too. If I find that a participant is dealing with something that affects their mood or how they interact with me, I commit myself to being patient. I listen for clues about how I can help, and I do not allow myself to take it personally. It’s never wise to fight negativity with negativity. My role is to help.”
Tamara is one shining example out of many Senior Services team members who bring the agency’s mission and core values to life. As a Senior Services employee, Tamara Salley is respectful of participants, volunteers, donors, visitors, vendors, co-workers, and others, demonstrating civility and an appreciation for the dignity of all people. Senior Services is stronger because of Tamara’s passion for treating participants with dignity and her dedication to doing her job well. Thank you, Tamara, for all that you do! You truly add value to the Senior Services team.