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Last week, I spoke at the annual training for Maryland's Congregate Housing Services Program.
This is a state-funded program that provides services to residents in senior housing properties who need assistance with daily living activities. It's available in 38 properties (another 42 are on the waiting list to offer the program), several of which are LeadingAge members.
One of my fellow presenters was Aileen McShea Tinney from Catholic Charities of Baltimore. She spoke about the training they do for the aids who work under the program and provide assistance with homemaking, personal care, serving meals, etc.
In the past, the training focused on the rules and regulations, documentation, etc. They've made a shift, though, and now the training focuses on the value of what these aids do.
The goal, Aileen says, is to help the aids see the contribution they make and the importance of their job.
When they find themselves in a social situation and someone asks them what they do, instead of saying "I clean apartments," she hopes they can say "I help older adults stay in their home." As part of the training, each aid is asked to tell a story about a resident they work with.
The goal is to help the aids see the whole person they are caring for, not just the limitations they help them with, and how the work they do helps Catholic Charities fulfill its mission to "love, serve and teach."
For some great stories collected by resident associates, please check out Helping Hands: Stories by Employees of the Senior Support Services Program.