Why We Do It | Meet El

by Nancy Bruce, Engagement Assistant

Postings |

“I LOVE to give back!”

Although Eleanor (a.k.a. “El”) works specifically in the finance department as the Program Billing and Accounts Payable Specialist, she is the quintessential Senior Services employee; wherever and whenever someone needs her, she is there.

After leaving Indiana and a twenty-five-year career as a dialysis technician, El returned to North Carolina and joined the Senior Services Home Care department in August of 2016. She had never heard of Senior Services before applying, but it didn’t take long for her to recognize that many of her former dialysis patients could have benefitted from the organization’s programs like Meals-on-Wheels or Home Care. As she settled in at Senior Services El learned even more about the programs and services the agency offered. Connecting with the community is a big part of the Senior Services mission, as evidenced by the new and thriving Intergenerational Center for Arts and Wellness (Generations Center).

“One word to describe Senior Services? UNITY!
A united front.”

El has worked in several departments during her tenure at Senior Services. Regardless of her job title or the department she works in, her favorite thing about working at Senior Services is being part of a big family. She treats her work family the same way she would her real family. If she is needed, she will be there. If the Hub (reception desk) or Home Care staff needs a hand, El is there. If the Meals-on-Wheels program needs someone to deliver a route, she is happy to answer the call. Working on the Senior Services team has taught El that volunteering to help older adults is vital to this community. She says that delivering Meals-on-Wheels, for example, is a very humbling experience. “Many of the participants live alone, may not be able to leave their homes, and often see the volunteers more than their family members if there are any.”

One of El’s favorite Senior Services volunteer activities involves building personal relationships with participants. She especially enjoys IMPROV which matches participants with volunteers to do movement, or “dancing,” in the participant’s home. “One lady, Miss Louise, had not been on my list for IMPROV visits, but I took her on anyway,” she said with a smile. When they started doing the dance movements, El noticed that Miss Louise was favoring her left arm, so she asked, “What’s going on there?” It turned out that Miss Louise was about to start dialysis. El was able to relieve some of her new friend’s fears and even offered to take her to her doctors’ appointments as there was no family to help. El truly enjoyed visiting with Miss Louise and the bond they formed. She brings pizza and salad once a month to share with another IMPROV participant she works with. They get the movement in and then socialize over a slice. El provides the type of human connections with participants that is so important for us all!

El comes alive when she talks about her passion for her job. “I do this to make a difference, to make a positive change in someone’s life. It doesn’t have to be much. It could be a hug, a smile, or buying someone a cup of coffee. I just want people to know that they are important and that there are people who care about them.” She is a shining example of how dedicated Senior Services staff members are to the mission of helping older adults remain at home for as long as possible, aging with dignity and living with purpose.

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