People can usually find at least one thing to complain about with their jobs. But not Zulfa Ali.
Zulfa started working at Atria Collwood in San Diego, California in 2013. As a Care Giver, her job involves daily contact with residents for help with dressing, showers, and other personal care.
And she loves it.
We caught up with Zulfa recently on the phone and some of her first words were “I just love working here because of my residents and my coworkers and my bosses. They’re all amazing.”
“ATRIA IS MY SECOND HOME.”
She says “Atria is my second home. When I come here, I come in, get my work supplies, say hi to my co-workers, and then go room to room to check on my residents. I make sure they are OK, and I start helping them get their day going. Whatever they need, I am there for them. I love it when they tell me ‘Zulfa, we missed you while you were gone’ when I come back to my shift.”
Zulfa’s in nonstop motion during those first hours with residents. “I make sure that their rooms are clean. After that, I make sure they are taking their medicine, then I get them off to breakfast.”
“MY BOSSES AND COWORKERS TOOK ME IN”
Ten years earlier, Zulfa had been working with people with mental disabilities. She then applied for a job at Atria Collwood. “When I started working here, they immediately took me in as if I was ‘home.’ I was so happy the way my bosses and coworkers took me in. Then as I began working with the residents one by one, they also made me feel at home. Ever since then, I’ve just made sure everybody feels at home the same way that I was made to feel special.”
“I like to imagine taking care of each resident is just like taking care of my Mom or Dad. If it were my Mom or Dad, I would want the best for them and for them to be happy with their lives. When I leave my house for work, I’m so ready to get there and be with the residents,” she said.
Posey House, Engage Life® Director at Atria Collwood, knows full well the impact that Zulfa has on everyone around her. Posey’s first job was at Atria Collwood out of college, and it was Zulfa Ali who trained and mentored her. “She taught me how to pay attention to everything and to keep pace with her – she’s just very thorough. She just wants everybody to be taken care of,” she said.
“When I think of Zulfa, I think of ‘home’” Posey says. “Zulfa just brings a feeling of home to everything and everyone. She brings so much positivity to everyone. Even if a resident is having a bad morning and they don’t want to get going, Zulfa will use positivity to encourage them. She’ll say, ‘it’s good for you to get moving and get exercise and stay healthy.’ She just wants residents to look at things a new way, a positive way.”
“I LOVE BEING BACK AT ATRIA”
Just like Zulfa, Posey loves working at Atria. In fact, she recently returned to Atria Collwood after working at another nearby community. “I love being back at Atria. It feels like home again. I keep saying that, but this is the company that I am very grateful to work for. They’ve given me so many opportunities to grow and pursue more things than I could ever imagine. I’ve given interviews to other people around my age group applying for jobs and told them how Atria gives you all the tools and training you need.
As for Zulfa, she’s such an advocate for Atria that two of her four children have worked at Atria on their way to other careers. In fact, her son worked at Atria Collwood for four years before moving on to another career in nursing.
“THE BEST PLACE TO WORK IS ATRIA”
“I always tell people this is the best place to work, always because I’ve never had a problem with my work at all. Never. If I need something, I come to my boss and say, ‘this is what I need.’ And they always do – my bosses are always there for me. The best place to work is Atria,” Zulfa said.