When people ask Joyce Kisner what a social worker does, she can’t help thinking, “What don’t I do?”
As director of social services for Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor, Joyce is involved in important tasks from care plans to helping residents make challenging transitions. But she never really knows what the day could bring – she could be helping someone find a lost hearing aid, asking families to send a different size of clothing, or defusing conflicts between residents and/or staff members. She wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I like the people, and I like to bring joy to the people who are in long term care. I’m a success if I make a difference in one person’s life. Sometimes it’s just visiting, making them smile, and making them think ‘I’m OK,’” Joyce said. “I just think it was my calling. I always said God put me where I’m supposed to be.”
This summer Joyce will celebrate her 10th anniversary at Presbyterian Manor. This month is National Social Work Month, so we are turning the spotlight on these important members of our team. Joyce oversees our social services, and she is joined by Lori Peters who serves as the licensed social worker for residents of assisted living and memory care. Lori is also our activity director. “She’s been a real asset to that side of building with her dual roles,” Joyce said.
Lori joined Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor in July 2004 with nearly a decade of prior experience as a family therapist. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from University of Kansas, and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Southwestern College. She has been certified in Advanced Dementia Care through the Alzheimer’s Association and as a Trainer for Behavioral Based Ergonomic Therapy.
Joyce came to us in 2007 from the Cowley County Council on Aging, where she served in a variety of social services roles for nine years. Joyce has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Southwestern College. “I didn’t know I was going to end up in this area,” she said. “I started out in nursing school.”
Social workers in a senior living community often serve as liaisons to the families of residents. Joyce can empathize closely with those family members since her own mother came to live at Presbyterian Manor about five years ago. Joyce always told her mother that she would know when it was the right time to move into senior living. And she made sure to start the conversation before there was a pressing need.
That experience has been helpful when it comes to greeting potential new residents or helping them transition to life at Presbyterian Manor, Joyce said. “I think the most important thing is to meet the person coming in as they are, not as they used to be.”
Be sure to let Joyce and Lori know they are appreciated this month!