Inside Athena: Activities Assistant Bonding with South Shore Residents

Inside Athena: Activities Assistant Bonding with South Shore Residents

ROCKLAND, M.A. — Alexandra Meniel is shaping her future, in part, because of the residents she has bonded with at South Shore Rehabilitation & Skilled Care Center.

Alexandra alongside Resident Council President and Vice President, Leo and Karl.

She joined the dining department five years ago while in high school. She eventually became a receptionist and is now an activities assistant. Her goal is to become a nurse.

“I believe that working in activities gives me that experience that I need for school and also I love the residents so I can’t leave now,” she said, noting she didn’t plan on working with the senior population when she becomes a nurse, but now is interested in geriatric nursing care. “I want to become a nurse because I have a very caring personality. I’m very hands-on and whenever I engage with the residents at work, I love being around them.”

Meniel finds enjoyment in making people comfortable with their stay at the center and getting them interacting with others. That could be through events such as coffee socials, parties, or arts and crafts and more.

“We are the first ones to build a bond with the residents… and that’s the part that I like the most,” she said. “It’s being around the residents, making sure they get what they want and need.”

She has found ways to bond with the residents and they often offer her life advice. She calls them “wise” and loves to learn about their life experiences. It’s also important for her to document their life through pictures, especially with their loved ones. There are two residents she has close bonds with who have been there since she first started working at the center five years ago.

“I just love what I do,” she proudly said.

She also credits the work of the recreation department for always coming together for creative new ideas to keep residents social and calls South Shore’s Director of Therapeutic Recreation Sunny Lafond “the best boss.”

Lafond said the colleagues at South Shore describe Meniel as a “bright light” at the center.

“She is always there to lend a helping hand to any department. Her smile and kind-toned voice could always make a person’s day. She influences the residents with positivity, motivation, and joy every day. She also makes the residents comfortable and creates an enjoyable environment. She is charismatic, has patience, and is kind and I believe that she has what others don’t. I could never do it without her. Whether it is with computer skills or singing for the residents, she always goes above and beyond,” Lafond said.

Meniel is also a known singer at the center and loves to vocalize for residents when they ask.

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May 30, 2024 A Healthier Approach To Caring, Inside Athena