Q: Please introduce yourself.
SI: My name is Sheyda Irizarry, the Medication Supervisor.
Q: How long have you worked here?
SI: Close to eight years now.
Q: Were you hired as the Medication Supervisor?
SI: No, I was hired as a personal care aide. After two years, I joined the medication
staff. Then, I moved up to medication night person and weekend supervisor.
About four years ago I was promoted to medication supervisor.
Q: Excellent. So you worked your way up. Thatís the best way to learn
SI: Thatís right!
Q: Do you like working here?
SI: Yes, I do.
Q: Is this just a job that you do, or is it something more?
SI: Not to me. I always wanted to work with elderly people,
so this is something that I always wanted to do.
Q: What makes West 74th Street such a good community? What do you
think the staff brings to their jobs? Whatís special about the place?
SI: Since Iíve been working here, it has been like a family.
We treat people like a family member, itís not just a job to us.
Sometimes we become attached to a resident, because some of
them donít have family, and we become their family, like me and Mr.
Faresee. Iíve known him for a long time. I didnít have a grandfather;
for me, I consider him my grandfather, and he likes that.
Q: Apart from doing the medication management, do you do other things,
do you help with the activities?
SI: I usually like to help out whenever I am needed. I have worked at the front desk, as a
personal care aid as well as in the kitchen. Wherever they need someone, I try to help out. I also meet with the social workers on a weekly basis. It keeps me busy throughout the day. We have a lot of residents, some who need more care than the others, so we try to accommodate all of them.
Q: I was looking at the activities schedule and thereís a lot going on
SI: We have three exercise classes per week. We have an art class, a poetry class and we have concerts, they really enjoy that. We even have belly dancers and magicians coming here. We try to offer as many
choices as possible. We have a lot of activities that the residents enjoy.
Q: Sounds better than my social life.
SI: [Laughs] Better than my social life, too. Yeah.
Q: Do you find that a lot of the residents here go out in the
neighborhood and do things by themselves?
SI: Yeah, they are very independent. A lot of them go to day programs.
Some of them they leave in the morning and you wonít see them back until
4pm or 4:30pm. Then it is basically dinnertime and then they will watch
a movie. We have a special tea time every night. Some of the residents
go to sleep early, some you will see at 10 pm or 11 pm . A lot of them go to
concerts at Lincoln Center. The residents like the area around here.
Q: I think that a lot of people find that itís pretty safe, too.
SI: Yes, it is very safe. You know, everywhere something happens, but
here it is really rare.
Q: What are the holidays like here?
SI: The big thing would be the New Yearís Eve party. They all get really
dressed up for that. We have Halloween parties, which they enjoy, where
residents wear costumes. For every holiday, we try to do somethingóMotherís
Day, Fatherís Day, Valentines Day and birthday parties but New Yearís Eve is the
Q: Whatís your favorite thing about working here? What gives you the
most satisfaction? Why do you love your job?
SI: I like working with the elderly. I have great respect for the
elderly, because of my mother. I can talk to them, these are the most
honest people. When you have a conversation with an older person, they
know more than you do about life, and basically they are honest, they
have nothing to lie about at this point in their lives. And I have
learned a lot from them. Sometimes, when I feel down, they
just tell me about their past lives, and the way to enjoy life now,
because life is going to get slower for me. I just love talking with
them, because they are funny. Some of them are really funny. Iíve just
always enjoyed talking to older people, because they have more
interesting things to say. Iíve learned a lot from them.
Q: Well, that sounds good. Is there anything else that you want to add?
SI: West 74th Street Home is the most pleasant place to work at. I like
it, I really like it. I really enjoy myself. Itís been a good eight years.
Q: Well, that definitely comes through. Thank you very much.