March is Social Worker Month as recognized by the National Association of Social Workers. Americare has a very special social worker who is administrator at our Alexandria Place community in Jackson, TN. Her name is Jennifer Brewer and on March 16, her alma matter, Union University did a special tribute to her on its Facebook and Instagram Pages www.facebook.com/UnionUSocialWork and www.instagram.com/uusocialwork.
While an education and experience in social work is not a typical path to becoming an administrator at an elderly care community, Jennifer believes it is an ideal path for the right person. In fact, she believes in it so much that she has sponsored 27 interns seeking social work degrees from Union and other schools to see if they find it to be a natural fit as well. Some she has hired and others she has advocated for in other communities.
Jennifer’s passion for caregiving began very personally as she was caregiver for her mother who was fighting cancer. As she explains, that laid a groundwork for caregiving and a desire to learn how to be the right person to help and to support others in their losses as well as their triumphs.
“In social work, I am trained to see the entire person as well as the circumstances impacting the person,” explains Brewer. “My focus is not on what is missing or what has been lost or broken, it is on the current strengths and abilities of each individual and what can we do to make that person feel whole. What can we do to help that individual know they are being heard, being seen and have value?”
Brewer says she is there to listen to residents and just as often to listen to family members as they all together go through the changes that are taking place.
“If we as a team build trust and build a safe environment, then we can find ways to live for the most in the present, together, and not try to hit the reverse button to try and recreate the past.”
At Americare, every community is unique because the residents and team members are each unique. At Alexandria Place the administrator is a social worker, which means the leadership has a unique background and skill base, so the rest of the team is chosen to fill out the rest of the needs of the community from a medical, financial, social and organizational standpoint. The goal is a strong team in every community that residents and family members can trust and count on for making life safe, meaningful and comfortable for every resident.
“I have a unique perspective and background, just like every community administrator, and for me social work was the perfect preparation,” says Brewer. “At the end of the day, I take responsibility for my residents, not just their health, but their happiness and their hope.”
As National Social Worker month draws to an end, Americare salutes our social worker team members like Jennifer, as well as everyone caring for our residents.