Watching our loved ones growing older can be difficult. Whether it’s a mother going through dementia or a friend who has Parkinson’s disease, later stages of life present challenges for everyone.
When these challenges arise, Lori Tichener, Director of Social Services, is here to help. She works with the residents in Hooverwood’s memory care unit, helping them through both the good times and the bad, to make sure they never feel alone with any condition they’re dealing with.
“I have one resident right now who has a sister she is very close to,” says Lori. “Sometimes she’ll go into a very worried and upset state due to her dementia. She will call me over thinking I’m her sister. So I’ll sit and talk with her and act as if I am her sister. I have no problem being a different person for her in those moments, because I know it puts her at ease. To see her go from fear to comfort is what makes my job worth it. She’s looking for a familiar face, and I can be that for her.”
Throughout her day, Lori keeps in constant contact with residents, nurses, and administrators. She also works regularly with families and friends whose loved ones are residents of the memory care unit. Their struggle, she says, is re-learning how to relate to their loved ones who are experiencing dementia.
“I can understand their concern. It’s always hard to see your relative or friend in a state you’re not used to,” says Lori. “So I kindly remind them that this isn’t always your loved one you’re seeing; this is the course dementia is taking.”
While the work of a social services worker can at times seem daunting, Lori, who has served Hooverwood residents for fifteen years, says she feels privileged to be their confidante and friend.
“I’ve been with the memory care unit ever since I started here, and I absolutely love it,” says Lori. “Those residents give me so much joy.”
For more information on Hooverwood’s specialized care programs, visit our Services page.