“At that moment when they announced my name, I wanted to cry. It means a lot.”

Yesenia Molina came to the United States from El Salvador when she was 13 years old, and although much has changed over time, her desire to care for others has not. She began her career in senior living more than 20 years ago as a caregiver, and since then, has been promoted numerous times. Yesenia now serves as the Life Guidance Director at Atria Westchase and was recently honored with the Hero Award for Memory Care by the Texas Assisted Living Association (TALA).

Diana Martinez, President & CEO of TALA, said, “Yesenia’s dedication to her residents is undeniable. I am so happy we got the chance to celebrate what she brings to assisted living and to the residents she serves.”

Going the extra mile

One of Yesenia’s most notable contributions is her ability to help residents transition smoothly to living in the memory care neighborhood. Her desire to help the residents acclimate to their new surroundings is evident in that she consistently prioritizes working with their family members and doctors to ensure a positive experience for everyone.

In early March, Atria Westchase implemented infectious disease protocols to protect residents and staff members from COVID-19. Not only did Yesenia perform safety practices that included social distancing, hand sanitizing and following extensive PPE protocols, she also ensured that residents could continue engaging as safely as possible in group gatherings.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Yesenia continues to go the extra mile for the residents at Atria Westchase – both inspiring and supporting staff members to do the same. “I started seting up FaceTime calls with our memory care residents and their families.” One of her goals is to keep the residents connected with the community they belong to, as well as with those they love outside of the community.

“Yesenia never asks of anybody something that she isn’t willing to do herself.”

She attributes much of her commitment and dedication to her fellow employees. When asked about Yesenia, Justin Schill, Executive Director at Atria Westchase, said, “Yesenia never asks someone to do something that she isn’t willing to do herself. The responsibility she has to advocate for our residents and to give them excellent care is one of the many qualities that makes her an extraordinary person. She expertly builds good relationships with our residents and their families because she knows it’s all about their well-being.”