The Value of Social Work in Senior Living - St Augustine Health Ministries

March 1, 2024

The Value of Social Work in Senior Living

March is National Social Workers Month. A social worker is a trained and licensed professional who helps vulnerable individuals, families, and communities address various social, emotional, and psychological challenges. The value of social work throughout Senior Living and Hospice programs cannot be overlooked. They significantly contribute to the well-being of residents and patients, focusing on their holistic needs as well as being an advocate for their autonomy and rights – ensuring each person feels heard, valued, and visible.

Social Workers in the Senior Living sector wear a variety of hats and play a pivotal role in residents’ journey through this new stage of life. From doing assessments, monitoring progress, ensuring safety, solving problems, listening and helping them adjust to the many transitions that senior living brings – their plate is quite full.

We are so thankful for the invaluable work that our social workers here at St. Augustine Health Ministries provide, doing so with such care and compassion!

Meet our superhero social workers:

Jose Matos, LISW-S – Health Campus

I had always felt like I was meant to be in a field where I could help others. When I came across social services, it was a perfect fit. I’ve worked in the field visiting people in their homes and in long-term care as well. In social work, no two client cases are necessarily the same and the challenge that comes with identifying needs and ways to meet those needs is like trying to help people solve a puzzle. The thought that goes into problem solving is something that can be frustrating but is ultimately one of the things that I enjoy most. Working with older adults, thinking of ways to improve people’s quality of life by offering solutions, support, and services is beyond rewarding.

Jamie Woods, LISW-S – Health Campus

I always wanted to pursue a profession working with people and wanted to feel like I was making a difference in their lives. I completed an internship in home health care in college which increased my interest in medical social work. My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, and it made me more interested in working with older adults and memory care. St. Augustine is a great facility to work with and be a part of an interdisciplinary team. St. Augustine values licensed social workers and sees the benefit of having professional social workers on its team. It is nice to feel valued and appreciated at work!

Denise Rizzo, LSW – Health Campus

I got into Social Work because I watched my very dear Uncle Bob struggle with schizophrenia and my family struggle with him having it.  I wanted to be able to help others who were suffering from something that they had no control over.  The rewards I get from being a social worker are immeasurable…but the biggest is probably seeing or hearing that I have touched someone’s life and helped them with something that made even the tiniest difference in their life.  I have LOVED my time here at St. Augustine so far and getting to interact with and know my residents has been so rewarding. 

Kelsey Watson, LSW – Health Campus

I got into social work in order to be an advocate for people who don’t always have a voice in our society. Seeing people have an “aha” moment in their lives and helping them to develop the tools they need to make their lives more enjoyable truly motivates me to keep moving forward in this work.

Alexus Joyce, LSW – Health Campus

I always knew since I was little that I wanted to have a career that allowed me to help people, whether it was through volunteering, counseling, providing community resources, or just lending a listening ear for people who needed someone to talk to. Growing up with a mom, who is also a social worker, she inspired me to pursue a career that allowed me to advocate for others – especially when they have felt that in the past, no one listened to their concerns.   I fully believe that social work has always been the perfect career for me and a path that makes it natural for me to extend my compassion and personal skills for all individuals and families.

Linda Spinelli, LISW-S – Holy Family

Social workers, including myself, often go into this field because we have a compassion for people and want to connect with others on a human level.  I find it rewarding to be a speaker for those who cannot speak for themselves and/or for those whose voices are often silenced. I enjoy the work I do at Holy Family because the principles and values connect with my own values.  Holy Family utilizes social work in many ways and supporting individual’s and family’s wishes at end of life has been very rewarding.  

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