Meet Elizabeth Thompson
Thirteen years ago, Elizabeth Thompson started volunteering in our Adult Day Health program. She loved it so much she eventually became a full-time Adult Day Health Aide. She loves her clients deeply and has dedicated her life to caring for others both through her job and in her home. We recently asked her about her role and more. Keep reading to discover her answers.
Q: Why did you want to become an Adult Day Health Aide?
A: It’s actually quite funny because I did not go to school for it. It was never the plan. We moved down to Georgia in 2007 and lived with my sister because unfortunately no one was hiring. I lived with my parents then and still do because they both have major health issues. So, I help take care of them.
We signed up for food stamps and back then there was a program that if someone was eligible to work, then they would need to volunteer twenty hours a month and have proof that they had applied for at least twelve jobs each month. DFACS gave me two options for volunteering, working at ACCA or cleaning out school buses. I am extremely claustrophobic. So, I decided to go hang out with the people and see what this was all about. I made the decision without really knowing what I was getting into, but I have loved it.
I started in August of 2008 and volunteered with ACCA until mid-2009. I then transitioned into a part-time position, and now I work with ACCA full time as an Adult Day Health Aide. So, I really just volunteered my way into a job.
Q: How did you transition from a volunteer to a full time Adult Day Health Aide?
A: As I said before, I did not go to school for it. There was one paycheck that was a little juicier than the other ones because I had covered some extra hours. So, I went to Goodwill and bought about ten different nursing books. I read them in my spare time and tried to do everything I could to teach myself.
I wanted to have more knowledge of what some of the patients were going through and to be able to know what to watch for in my clients.
I really cared for the people at ACCA and wanted to be able to help them more. So, I talked with Eve Anthony, the president of ACCA, and eventually worked my way up to becoming a full-time employee and official Adult Day Health Aide.
Q: How have you grown since joining ACCA?
A: I was so nervous when I first started as a volunteer. The only older people I had ever been around were my grandparents, and I did not know what I was doing at ACCA. I felt so unprepared. But, to this day, I still remember my first day as a volunteer. My first boss, Keith, was amazing. I definitely owe my career at ACCA to him. He taught me how to be silly and goofy with the clients and helped me build my confidence.
I’ve learned a lot from the clients too. Everybody has a different story, and they’ll give you motherly advice or the male clients will think they are all that and a bag of chips, and they’ll flirt with you. You just learn how to relate and find ways to connect.
Q: Why do you enjoy working for ACCA?
A: I love the people and connections. There’s no possible way to be around someone (a client) for three to five days a week and not just grow to absolutely love them. Being with them for so long, you realize that sometimes you’re the only interactions these people get and some of them might not have any family at all.
To learn more about Elizabeth’s role and how to support ACCA, visit accaging.org/services/health-wellness/adult-day-health/.