How long have you been an ombudsman?
This year will mark my 22nd year and I still enjoy being the Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman for region five.
What made you want to become an ombudsman?
When I became an ombudsman, I had no idea what an ombudsman was or what they did. I applied
for a job at our local council of government and was turned down. A couple months later they called me
back and asked me to come in because the job was opened again, but they had another job too, if I was
interested. The people who interviewed me told me that they had observed me in the community
working with older adults and felt I would be a good ombudsman.
What has surprised you the most in being an ombudsman?
What surprised me most about being an ombudsman was when residents tell me they see me more
than they see their families. I was brought up in a family where we took care of each other. At times
this would become overwhelming but at the end of the day we were still family. My journey to respect
elders started at a young age. In my early teens, I stayed with my grandparents in the summer and later
stayed with them in their home when they were in hospice.
What do you most enjoy about being an ombudsman?
I enjoy being an ombudsman because it gives me a glimpse of residents’ lives. I feel you have to earn
their trust and respect before they will open up to you with problems or concerns. Making a difference
in the residents’ lives and knowing that quality of life is just as important as quantity of life. Sometimes
the smallest thing will make a world of difference in their lives.
Tell us the top 2 or 3 positive changes that you are working to achieve in the communities that you serve.
In my community, I serve on a variety of committees as a member. This allows me to know contacts
and resources so residents who want to go out in the community again, will have the chance to thrive,
not fail. I try to attend the resident’s community functions when possible so families will know who I am
and what my role is. It is very important to educate communities on services in and out of long-term
care. Nursing homes and Assisted Living Residences are a place to live in communities and are not
Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you in your work as an advocate?
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do” Steve Jobs