Joe Thomas, Resident Companion at Bethesda Meadow was recently awarded the 2014 Caregiver of the Year Award at the 20th Annual Caregiver Awards Luncheon hosted by VOYCE – the St. Louis based organization dedicated to ensure quality of life for those in long term care facilities.
As a Resident Companion, Joe, 67, has a remarkable ability in making personal connections with the seniors in his care. They describe him as kind, caring, and compassionate because Joe has the ability to relate to each in an individualized manner.
For example, one resident with advanced Multiple Sclerosis has difficulty in controlling her tremors. So when he sees her, Joe will stop to rub her back, sing to her and hold her hand until she relaxes and this often helps some of her trembling subside.
Another resident who has difficulty with speech will call Joe by name when she sees him, a testament to the amount of time he has spent interacting with her. A dementia resident who presents challenges by going off in his wheelchair, making it difficult to direct him, will listen and follow directions from Joe because of his special touch. And Joe always kneels down so he is eye level with the residents when he interacts with them. He not only finds meaning in his job, but also brings meaning to the lives of those he serves.
Joe is a prime example of an employee who lives Bethesda’s vision every day – that of being committed to fostering successful aging through compassion and innovation. If you ask Joe, he will tell you, he has the best job at Bethesda! However, the feeling is mutual; Bethesda feels they have the best employee.
Joe tells VOYCE he has the most rewarding job. Watch video here.
Each year VOYCE recognizes exceptional caregivers who demonstrate excellence in person-centered care. Honorees embody the voice of compassion by doing an outstanding job caring for and respecting the rights of those receiving long-term care.