By Stephanie Ntim
Senior Services’ Home Care department is dedicated to providing quality, professional, and compassionate care to older adults who experience difficulty addressing the activities of daily life – such as bathing, dressing, eating, and preparing meals and who need assistance to remain in their homes, living independently, with dignity and purpose. Pam Williams has been a part of our Home Care team, delivering that type of special care for the past twenty years.
Over her tenure as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in the Home Care program, Pam has touched many lives – going home-to-home assisting with personal care needs, building friendships, and providing the support that keeps seniors in their homes. She has become an ideal example of how one person can make a tremendous impact on the lives of others. After serving part-time for a year and a half, Pam was encouraged by former Home Care director, Rosemary Niles, to join the team as a full-time aide and eventually as a scheduler for all the home care aides–-a position she held for two years. She ultimately returned to the field because she enjoyed working directly with participants and found purpose in helping them live their lives to the fullest and overcome any challenges to doing that.
Pam attributes her twenty-year stint as a Home Care aide to the relationships she cultivated with participants during her home care visits. “A lot of the participants,” she said, “were lonely and didn’t have a lot of family visiting them, so they were looking forward to the home aide coming out to visit. [And] also getting their baths, having a light meal prepared, having their linen changed. It’s just little things like that that make a huge difference in a person’s life when they are not able to do it anymore.”
Her commitment to serving as a in-home aide reflects the mission of Senior Services Inc. to care for older adults and help them live in their homes for as long as possible. “When we come into their homes, we don’t come in to take over. We help that person stay in their home because as they get older, their abilities become limited. A lot of times, they feel like their only option is to live in a nursing home, so to have an organization like Senior Services come in and help that participant to stay in their home–it makes a big difference. And you simply do not find that with other agencies.”
Reflecting on one of her fondest memories in the Home Care program, Pam mentioned a participant who asked her to stop by KFC and get a bucket of chicken. And every Friday, Pam did just that. “That brought her so much joy,” Pam said, “to know that someone cared enough to stop and get her that chicken because she couldn’t go out and get it herself. Every Friday, she looked forward to getting that KFC. She would always tell me, ‘I know you just brought [chicken] this Friday, but it’s probably going to be gone by Saturday. It’s simple things like that that make a difference.”
The coronavirus pandemic has brought new challenges to Pam’s work. However, she says everyone has managed to adapt and follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Before each home visit, Pam checks her temperature and calls her participants to ask if they have been sick or if anyone is sick in their homes. Everyone has been cooperating because, as Pam noted, “It’s all about the protection because the participants still want to get service, and we want to be able to provide that much-needed service for them.”
Pam’s work is of incalculable value because of her commitment to caring for participants so they can live their life to the fullest. By showing participants how they can maintain their daily living, Pam is truly the epitome of what it means to help older adults live with dignity.