Agency on Aging promotes Griffin and White, hires Smith
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Aroostook Agency on Aging is pleased to announce the recent promotion of two veteran employees and the hiring of a new staff member.
Jennifer Griffin was promoted in June to manager of Eldercare Services. Griffin started at the Agency in 2008 as a personal support specialist, doing part-time care in Bridgewater, Blaine, and Monticello. In 2019, she was promoted to quality specialist while still doing PSS work part-time, adding consumer care in the Presque Isle area as well. For the past two years she has been assistant manager of Eldercare Services. Prior to joining the Agency, she managed the Bradbury Barrel Company for more than 20 years
Chris Beaulieu, director of homecare and nutrition services said, “Jenn has a compassion not only for our consumers, but she credits the hard-working PSS workers for the real difference they make every day. Combining her strong business acumen, organizational skills, and dedication, Jenn will continue to strengthen the Eldercare Service and our Agency.”
Griffin oversees approximately 55 personal support specialists and has the highest regard for each of them and understands what they do, because she’s been there. “I’m proud of these workers. During COVID they continued to do their work. Some were scared, but they kept on caring as if the consumer was a member of their own family. Seeing the face of the Agency brought some normalcy to a difficult time.”
“My passion is to be of service, with a focus on independence and dignity, to older adults who need in of home support. Part of my responsibility is to bridge the gap, to bring the heart of management in line with the caring, hard-working person on the front line. Being a good listener and working together for the betterment of those we serve is the goal,” Griffin said.
Ruth White was promoted to manager of service coordination in late July. She started at the Agency in 2012, completing a 1,000-hour internship as part of her master’s degree in clinical mental health. Upon completing her graduate studies in 2014, and while employed full-time as a counselor at Northern Maine Community College, she continued working part-time for the Agency on Aging.
“Now that I’m fully retired from NMCC and have shifted to a full-time role at the Agency, I have found my true passion,” White said. “I realize how important it is to keep older people engaged and safe in their homes. They need to have their stories heard, be allowed to age gracefully, and be respected within their communities. This is vital to their well-being.”
White oversees three regional coordinators who serve Aroostook County; together, they visit consumers in their homes, arranging services within the Agency and community enabling them to stay living in their home. A typical visit might include an assessment to determine what services are needed and navigation of and application for payment for these services.
White’s priority and great passion is teaching techniques so individuals can better care for their loved ones, especially those with dementia. She coordinates caregiver support through Savvy Caregiver and a weekly support group, as well as facilitates the Online Gathering Place, a weekly online session that brings older people and caregivers together for interaction and fun. White said, “I feel alive. I’m excited and have a whole new energy to enhance services for the people we serve, and potentially more.”
Executive Director Joy Barresi Saucier said, “Ruth White is a welcome addition to our team. She is an extremely caring person with an exceptional knowledge of in-home support options and reimbursement. She is well respected by her peers internal to the Agency and in the community.”
Judi Smith, who served many years as a paralegal, comes to Aroostook Agency on Aging to serve as executive assistant/governance coordinator. In her new role, she works to assist the executive director, support the leadership team, and serve as a liaison to the organization’s governing boards, committees, and councils.
“I’m excited about working for a community organization where the staff wears many hats, has varied responsibilities, and is concerned about older people receiving a personal, caring touch. It is rewarding to see all that goes on and how managers, staff, and volunteers reach out to offer a complete array of services that assist older adults to live independently,” said Smith.
She added, “I’ve come from a private law firm into a growing agency that is like joining a large welcoming family. I love it here. The staff is knowledgeable, our board brings business and professional talents, and the committee members are in tune with growth.”
“We are pleased to have Judi fill this new role to support me as executive director and the many boards, committees, and councils of the Agency. Her professionalism, attention to detail, organizational skills, and experience working with key stakeholders will certainly benefit the organization as we continue to grow in response to community needs,” said Barresi Saucier.
For more information, contact the Aroostook Agency on Aging at 207-764-3396 or toll free at 1-800-439-1789. A complete list of services can be found on their website at www.aroostookaging.org.