Beloved Waldron Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center
Activities Director, Tina Smith, Retires After 43 Years at Facility
Skilled Nursing Facility Says Goodbye to Employee
After 43 Years of Dedicated Work
WALDRON, IND. (January 29, 2021) – Waldron Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center bids farewell to its beloved Activities Director Tina Smith, after she dedicated 43 years to the facility. Smith started at Waldron when she was just 16 years old, working in the kitchen, and five years later she was promoted to activities director where she stayed for the next 38 years. However, Tina jokes that she has been with Waldron for much longer than that.
“When people ask, I always like to joke that I have been working at Waldron since I was two years old,” said Smith, “I lived on the same street as the original Waldron location, so I always say that I was raised at the nursing facility.”
When she was a child, many of the residents would read to Smith and tell her stories. From that moment on she knew that she was meant to work there. Smith believes that she has been given a gift and working with the elderly is her niche.
A lot has changed in the 43 years that Smith has been at Waldron Rehab, mostly the increase in paperwork. For 29 of her years at Waldron, Smith worked closely with the Kuhn family, who built the original nursing facility. She said she grew close with the Kuhns and still considers them family to this day.
She has also found that skilled nursing facilities are more resident-centered now than they were years ago. It is more important to adapt the facility to the residents instead of trying to adapt the residents to the facility, she said.
The presence of COVID-19 has also been a difficult change for the skilled nursing facility industry. Residents in the early days of lockdown were missing socializing with each other. Due to this, staff – trained in safety practices – made a priority of taking the time to talk with all of the residents. Residents were also able to video chat with their family members, since visitors were not permitted. Smith and her assistants set up socially distanced games of bingo and trivia in the hallways outside of the residents’ rooms for them to participate.
“Even though Tina’s time as activities director has come to an end at Waldron Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, she still will make a point to drop in from time to time to visit with us and our residents,” said Manoj Berry, administrator of Waldron Rehab. “We all wish Tina the best with her retirement and thank her for her dedication and the impact she has made on the facility!”
Involvement Is A Key To Successful Activities
A major part of Tina’s job as activity director was to plan goings-on and events for the residents. Some of their favorite games and activities are bingo, “frog darts” and the nickel toss. Smith loves any activity that requires any kind of physicality. She also enjoys leading and participating in the Bible study. It is often challenging having so many different personalities and individuals with different capabilities participate in these activities. However, Smith prides herself in mastering having every resident feel involved and a part of the group, something that does not come easily. If she sees someone struggling she will give them extra attention so that no one feels left out.
Throughout her 43 years at Waldron Rehab, Smith has experienced many rewarding moments in her career. She feels the most fulfilled when a resident does something that she did not expect.
“If I have been gone for a while on vacation and someone who may have trouble with their memory or does not talk a lot notices that I have been gone or tells me that they missed me, that is when I know that all of my hard work is worth it,” remarks Smith.
The greatest thing that Smith said she has gotten from her time at Waldron is the life-long friendships she has made with her co-workers and residents. These friendships have evolved from them being just acquaintances to “family.”
About Waldron Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center
Waldron Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center is a 79-bed subacute and skilled nursing facility in Waldron, Ind., providing long-term care, short-term care, rehabilitation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, rehab-to-home, speech therapy, hospice care, and respite care. The center is currently accepting new admissions for short-term rehabilitation and long-term care. For further information, please contact Sarah Jones at (765) 525-4371 or visit the Waldron Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center website at www.waldronhc.com.