By Bob Merikangas
As we begin the month of March, which is National Professional Social Work Month, we can give special attention to, and welcome, the new Senior Social Work Manager, Ellen Lebedow, LCSW-C licensed certified social worker -clinical , the highest licensure level available in Maryland. We know of the social workers from the “Who is the Social Work Team?” flyer on the bulletin boards. Some of us certainly noted the updated flyer on January 17 that gave us Ellen’s name, replacing that of Michelle Glodeck. We knew from the article on the first page of the November Riderwood Reporter that Michelle
became the new Resident Life Director.
Since Ellen’s first day on January 17 she has been getting to know staff and residents all over the campus. As Michelle has told me, Ellen “has 27 years of experience with the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA) and is familiar with Riderwood and the Social Work team here through her work with JSSA Hospice.”
With JSSA she worked for 15 years within the Newcomer Resettlement Program, resettling refugees and immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and Iran. Then she worked with JSSA’s hospice department for eight years, helping patients and family members access the services they needed. In this role she also provided support to staff from different facilities and home care agencies, who were affected by the loss of a resident/client. Ellen has had significant experience with issues focused on bereavement and grief support. After her hospice work she served as a community clinical liaison, helping JSSA to make connections with physicians’ offices, local hospitals, and many senior living communities, including Riderwood, concerning services of hospice home care, and senior services.
Ellen received her master’s degree in social work from Loyola University of Chicago in 1987. As a clinical social worker Ellen participates in many continuing education and training programs, and has been a member of the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners since 1989.
Ellen looks forward to continue learning about Riderwood Village and other Erickson
communities, and she hopes to support and contribute to the social work team here at Riderwood. She is open to hearing people’s suggestions. As she puts it, her door is open! Her office is on the terrace level of King’s Court.
We residents usually get to know our local social worker only when we need help for ourselves and our families, but it would be good if we were also to tell our neighbors how it is good for them to speak to a social worker to learn of the many ways they can be helpful. This help certainly features assistance in the transitioning from independent living to assisted living or long term care, as well as counseling in many other situations in which help may be needed. It is also important to know of the support groups, which are listed on the bulletin boards, with names of contact persons given, often a social worker.
We are the largest continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in the United States, and our social workers are an important part of the ways we help each other as a community to “add more living to your life.”