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Social workers lay the foundation for success

The work of social workers isn’t always visible to those who benefit from it. There’s no medical equipment or other obvious signs that work is being done — but nearly everything that goes into caring for residents involves the hands of a social worker.

“We do a lot of things,” said Social Services Director Tresa Allen. “We make sure they have what they need for their care.”

That might mean handling admission paperwork, scheduling and staffing care plan meetings, working between the patient and specialists — such as dentists, podiatrists, and audiologists — to access the unique care each patient needs.

“I take care of a lot of Medicaid applications, and setting them up with the library for the blind to help pull in those services. We help them access the resources they need,” Tresa said.

Without an understanding of the systems or familiarity with the processes, it would be an overwhelming task for families to manage on their own. Social workers, who deal with a variety of organizations on a daily basis, are uniquely positioned to help identify needs and successfully find resources to meet them.

“It is rewarding work,” Tresa said. “You can help them with things they can’t understand, or can’t do themselves. And we can help them get what they need to be taken care of.”

There’s also incredible reward in helping residents — not solely due to the feeling of helping someone solve a problem. The residents Tresa works with are eager to recount stories of their lives and brighten her day with a few kind words or warm conversation.

“The residents — they’re awesome,” Tresa said. “They have such wonderful stories, and if they like you, they’ll come ask you for different things they might not ask others for. They’ll share things with you and tell you things. They’re just awesome.”

Tresa said it’s good to stop and recognize the work of social workers because they care about the results of their work, even if it’s never outwardly seen.

“There’s so much we do that people don’t realize we do,” Tresa said. “It’s sort of overlooked a lot. People don’t realize we’re doing it. Being recognized is not so important, but knowing that you helped a person is the main thing. That’s why people become social workers.”

When she’s not at Presbyterian Manor, Tresa spends time with her two sons and daughter as well as her six grandchildren. She also makes diamond paintings, a type of work in which an artist places small diamond-shaped beads in a pattern to create a piece of art.

“I have like 25 of them,” Tresa said. “I have two Boston terriers — I have a terrier named Cloe. I’ve done the Titanic, a “Starry Night” version, and one of “Cafe at Night” — that’s my favorite. I have quite a few.”

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