Every month, we invite one of our team members to sit down with us and tell us more about their journey to Elder Care Alliance, their role now, and their insights into older adult care. We are excited to share the expertise and knowledge of our many team members who every day come to work and help our residents live their best lives with us.
Today we welcome Mary Anne Rodriguez, AlmaVia of San Rafael Memory Care Director.
Us: Hi, Mary Anne! Tell us a little about your background and your role at Elder Care Alliance.
Mary Anne: I was born and raised in Metro Manila. I helped my parents manage our family-owned educational institution soon after finishing my social science degree in college. I was units away from earning my master’s degree in public administration from the University of the Philippines when—leaving all my family and friends behind—I made a life-changing decision to migrate to California 20 years ago.
To earn my keep at a board and care where I also initially lived, I cared for elderly residents and have been fascinated with their spirit, wisdom, honesty and innocence since then. I studied to become a CA registered tax preparer, prepared income taxes during the day, and worked as a medication technician at night for many years.
In 2018, Elder Care Alliance gave me an opportunity to help manage a high-acuity memory care department in Alma Via of San Francisco. That opportunity has expanded my role from not only ensuring the safety and well-being of the residents, but also making sure they are engaged in meaningful activities and their families are connected and updated with their loved ones’ status.
Being offered a job as memory care director in Alma Via of San Rafael in 2022 is another opportunity to continue my vocation of serving the elderly residents, ensuring quality of life, and supporting the staff, families and other healthcare providers.
Us: How does your work benefit residents at Elder Care Alliance communities?
Mary Anne: Working memory care is not an easy feat, especially during this pandemic. I feel blessed to have such a dedicated team who are very hardworking, respectful, caring, compassionate and kind to our residents. As a leader, I try to be a role model in exhibiting those values and providing excellent customer service.
Us: Tell us more about a specific feature of your job or duties and what residents can expect to gain from it.
Mary Anne: One of my main job duties is to make sure residents are not only thriving physically but also cognitively and emotionally. This can be achieved through enhanced programming. My goal is to reduce TV and screen time and promote engaging activities like arts and crafts, sing-alongs with musical instruments, baking, patio time, etc.
Us: What is one of your favorite memories or experiences working at Elder Care Alliance?
Mary Anne: One of my favorite memories is when I invited my 10-year-old son to play the violin in Bridgehaven this month. Some of the residents recognized the songs he played and hummed, sang along and tapped their feet to the music. Some of them reminisced and talked about how they used to play musical instruments when they were younger. One of them loved listening to the piece so much that she got teary-eyed. This was truly, for me, a priceless moment.
Us: What is the greatest reward your role at Elder Care Alliance brings?
Mary Anne: The most rewarding part of my job as a memory care director is being able to interact with the residents, hear their life stories, see them smile, and make a difference in their everyday lives.
Us: Can you share any insights into new programs, menus, etc. that you are planning for the future?
Mary Anne: Coordinating with the Life Enrichment team, I plan on taking the residents on a scenic drive or outing in the park to have ice cream or a little picnic (weather permitting). I would also like to bring my Shih Tzu to Bridgehaven for some pet therapy and invite my eldest son (who is an engineering sophomore at UC Berkeley) to play guitar and entertain my beloved Bridgehaven residents.
Meta: Elder Care Alliance features Mary Anne Rodriguez, AlmaVia of San Rafael Memory Care Director, in its September Team Member Spotlight.