Finding Connections Across Generations
New Springwell Care Advisor Natalie Lara offers her view on the work, the people she has met, the impact she is making, and why it matters.
Springwell depends on our Care Advisors – who pull together, manage, and monitor in-home services – to support thousands of older adults every year. For many, their role at Springwell is their first job following college, but not all come to the role from a social work background. Natalie Lara came to the position as a recent graduate with a Politics major and background working in the dining room of a retirement community, which she loved. The role may help her decide whether she wants to attend law school in the future to prepare for work in public policy or continue in a social work focused career.
Natalie started work at Springwell in June and by July she was managing her own caseload. “It’s a lot of information to take in, but there is also a lot of guidance and reassurance. At some point, you jump in and learn by doing. I felt supported, so I was excited to started doing home visits. My supervisor, Amanda, is very caring and reminds me that she is there to help.” “My first home visit was with a couple in Watertown. I let them know that I was a new Care Advisor, and they were very patient with me. I love talking with people, hearing their stories, and learning from them. They have lived longer than me and I value learning from their life experience. I try to be attentive to their body language as well as their words. Sometimes people throw a lot at me, but I try to remember that they may just need to talk.”
Natalie shares the most important perspective for a care advisor, “You must be empathetic. The role is helping to advocate so people can stay living in their homes. Challenges of aging happen to everyone– it happens to our parents and will happen to us one day too. Being patient and understanding is key to being helpful. The work is challenging but rewarding. With COVID-19, it feels especially important to reassure the older adults I visit that they aren’t forgotten…. we see you; we hear you.” In just a few short months, I can see the positive impact of my work, yet I wish I could do more. My personal goal is to focus on what I can do to help and keep managing my work one task and one day at a time. I am growing in my role as a care advisor, and I find the possibilities of what this job may lead to very exciting.”