Social Worker Interview #2: Tricia Mullin

home care social work

In honor of March being Social Work Month, ACE Senior Care Navigators is proud to showcase the incredible work that social workers do for older adults. This month we are highlighting a few local social workers to share the variety of roles these professionals have. If you missed our first post, check out our interview with Colleen Collins Josellis, a former medical social worker.

Today’s post features Tricia Mullin, MGS, LSW. Tricia is the Executive Director of SASI (Serving Adults. Supporting Independence.) at Chicago Methodist Senior Services. SASI provides nonprofit home care services and home service coordination to older adults across the Chicagoland area, with a focus on at-risk adults. We are very grateful to Tricia for sharing with us her experiences as a social worker in the home care sector:

Tell us about your experience as a social worker with SASI and CMSS.

Interesting question as I started my career with an undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree in Gerontology, thinking that was what was needed to work and be recognized in the field of aging. Don’t get me wrong, my degrees have contributed to my life’s work in the field of aging but it wasn’t until over 20 years later that I obtained  my Master’s degree in Social Work and became a licensed social worker.

I share because my almost 30 years in the aging field has consisted of social work functions, but I was never recognized for being a social worker until recently. My role as a social worker with SASI, CMSS’ home care program, has involved listening to the needs of older adults and their family system, providing the home care and housing needed, as well as being a navigator to and advocate for other resources, as well as helping people be wise consumers. Besides teaching college earlier in my career, I have also supervised many students over the years as they dip their toes in the aging field that often is overlooked by many as a career path. I hope I have influenced them to stay!

The common thread I have found with other kindred spirits in this field is the respect afforded to older adults as humans worthy of attention and the desire to be of service.  Unbeknownst to me, as a teenager caring for two grandmothers with Alzheimer’s and providing companionship for an older adult neighbor of my parents, did I find my calling. Chicago Methodist Senior Services was willing to have me start their home care program for them in 1997, knowing that home care was on the cusp of becoming a burgeoning industry. That is a testament to our Board’s openness to new and needed programs and services for older adults. 

What are your goals as a social worker in this field?

Servant leadership, where my leadership philosophy is one which the goal is to serve older adults, serve their families, serve the community and serve the SASI Team that I stand beside.

What do you enjoy or find rewarding about your work?

Knowing that people have found a resource in me and a listening ear.

What is challenging about your work?

Giving my all yet things not always working out. I never give up though. Finding new ways to do the same thing better is what drives me (besides the people SASI supports and the team of care partners that I stand with).

What do you wish others knew about social workers in the senior services sector?

They wear a multitude of hats on any given day and truly are some of the strongest, yet humble people I know. They may go unnoticed or unrecognized, as many social workers I know are not in it for the glory, but the outcomes clients and families experience are a result of all that “behind the scenes” work that social workers do. Thank you to my fellow social workers.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us, Tricia! We know your clients are very lucky to work with you, and are proud of the work you and your team are doing for our community.

If you are interested in donating to Chicago Methodist Senior Services to support programs like SASI, we invite you to click here.