Kindness, Grace, and Appreciating Older Adults
by Annette Pinder
Featured in April's Buffalo Healthy
Anna VanDien is truly wise beyond her years and we are so fortunate to have her working with families in Western New York. Born and raised in Minnesota, Anna earned her undergraduate degree in Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota and her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. During graduate school, she enrolled in the Penn Aging Certificate to concentrate her studies on the unique issues facing the aging population.
In 2017, she joined the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care (Buffalo Hospice) in Buffalo as a Medical Social Worker. “My main focus as part of the home care team is to provide emotional support to patients and families.” As she supports them through their emotional distress and anticipated grief, she feels honored to be welcomed into their homes. While acknowledging that some days are harder than others, she says, “This work is a good match for me because it informs my perspective. It makes me realize that what’s great about life today could all be different tomorrow; it reminds me not to take anything for granted.” She also acknowledges that it is important to be cognizant of and manage the inevitable emotions and heaviness to avoid burnout. >> Read more.