Members of The Bristal Team Earn Outstanding Personal Care Professional Awards at the Coping and Caring Conference
Hosted by the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation
The Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) recently held their annual Coping and Caring Conference and Awards Luncheon. We would like to congratulate Cheryl Witsell from The Bristal at Westbury and Bibi Annief from The Bristal at Massapequa. Both women work in the Reflections neighborhood of The Bristal, caring for residents with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and memory loss.
These two team members were honored at the luncheon with the Outstanding Personal Care Professional Award.
Cheryl Witsell was nominated by Westbury’s Director of Reflections, Colleen Jones. As a part of the qualification, nominators were asked to share a story that illustrates the nominee’s remarkable qualities. Cheryl’s story shows genuine care for Reflections residents as well as their families.
The granddaughter of a resident was getting married and expressed that she really wanted her grandmother there. Cheryl decided that she would make it happen. She hired a car service and accompanied the resident to the wedding! The family was incredibly thankful for Cheryl’s generosity and for going above and beyond expectations. Cheryl made sure to take lots of photos of the resident and her family so that she would always be able to remember that day.
Cheryl’s director, Colleen, had this to say: “Cheryl has been working here with residents who have dementia for more than seven years. It takes a special person to work with residents with dementia. They need to have patience, they need to be able to think on their feet, and they need to be loving and understanding. That is exactly what Cheryl is. She is an asset to the Westbury community as she mentors the new Bristal staff, sharing experiences and knowledge of the residents.”
Cheryl grew up in Queens. She later moved to Westbury, where she lived with her parents. Cheryl loves to sing and dance. She is always smiling and has a contagious laugh. She has been married to her husband, Merrick, for 12 years and they have three children. Cheryl treats each of the residents at the Bristal as if they were her own parents.
Bibi Annief was nominated by Massapequa’s Executive Director, Debra Figueroa. To illustrate Bibi’s remarkable qualities, Debra recalled a story where she witnessed Bibi exhibiting true patience and kindness.
A Reflections resident was refusing assistance. Bibi was able to gently redirect him using her comedic wit and gentle manner. She asked him directly what she could do to assist him. Bibi listened to the resident’s needs and did exactly what he asked. She gained his trust, and was able to help the resident. When she was finished assisting him, he gave her a big hug and told her what a beautiful person she was. Bibi knows how to give, and lets the residents guide her in their needs.
Debra expressed that they often use this story as an example to teach others that sometimes, all we need to do is ask the resident what they need. Debra said of Bibi: “She has a huge heart and is always willing to give of herself to residents, family members and co-workers. She has a unique ability to easily calm residents when they are exhibiting difficult behaviors. Bibi is confident in herself, but very humble. She always takes the additional steps to make things work.”
Bibi was born in Guyana where she studied Management and Accounting, eventually working as an Accountant. She and her brothers and sisters joined her parents in the United States in 2010. Her parents had been in the United States for 13 years prior to her arrival. Once she came to the U.S., she studied to become a CNA and found that she enjoyed working with the elderly. She eventually came to work for The Bristal, and she enjoys communicating with and caring for residents. In her free time, Bibi enjoys reading. She also spends time on the computer researching medical information and would like to progress in her career.
The Bristal would also like to congratulate Mr. Allan Vann. A family member of a resident at The Bristal at East Northport, Mr. Vann was recognized at the Coping & Caring Luncheon as an Outstanding Alzheimer’s/Senior Care Advocate.
Congratulations to all of this year’s award recipients!