One thing I have cherished about CICOA in my first six months with the agency is its core values, because they are similar to my own. In particular, I appreciate that we pride ourselves on diversity and inclusion. I have attended diversity trainings, and I have numerous clients on my caseload from diverse backgrounds.
I’ve always had a passion for working with the aging population, but it is not uncommon to bump into clients who are not open to diversity and inclusion based on generational differences. I ran into this situation while trying to find attendant care for a client. Based on the client’s level of care, I knew she needed services, but every time I sent a referral out, the client would pass on the aide. I spent nearly two months and went through seven agencies before I finally discovered what was going on. The client told me that she did not want an aide who was too old, too young, overweight or African American.
Reflecting back on my core values and the values of CICOA, I explained that we do not discriminate against any persons based on their race, religion, age, gender or weight. I stated that my job was to ensure our clients receive the services they need to improve their overall health and well-being. The providers are there to help, I continued, and it should not matter what the person looks like. What matters is the quality of care they provide.
After our conversation we gained a mutual understanding, and we were able to find an aide right away. A couple of weeks later, I called to check up on the client, and she said she was happy with her new aide! She thanked me for our conversation and told me she really appreciated my help. It was such a rewarding feeling knowing I was able to give the client a different perspective. As a new care manager, situations like this can be intimidating. But when you stick to your core values and the values of CICOA, you learn how important it is to advocate for the rights of all people.
Tamia has been working as a care manager with CICOA for over six months. She received her bachelor’s degree in Gerontology and her minor in Psychology from Bowling Green State University. Tamia has found her passion in working with the aging and disabled population, and she is currently working on getting her Master’s in social work from Indiana Wesleyan University. Outside of work, Tamia loves to spend time with her friends and family.