Inside Athena: Montowese Social Worker Gives Heart and Soul to Lasting Career
NORTH HAVEN, C.T. — This year marks 38 years Anelia Zielinski has been working as a Social Worker. Part of what led her to her successful, lifelong career is her passion for helping others, her approachable personality and kind heart, along with the joy she gets from learning from others.
Zielinski is one of four Social Workers at Montowese Health & Rehabilitation Center, an Athena-managed center since 2018. However, her tenure at the North Haven center dates back to 1985 when she was working in the therapeutic recreation and social work departments doing both jobs.
“I love providing support and it’s very loving here,” she said. “That’s what I love about Montowese, it’s been my home.”
Across all disciplines and departments at Montowese, Zielinski said she works with a group of devoted people who all strive to work with the residents to achieve their goals. She explains healthcare today “is an uplifting field to be in” and for those who enjoy working with people, consider social work or therapeutic recreation as career options.
When you find Zielinski at Montowese, you may see her providing reassurances and support to new admissions arriving at the center. She enjoys hearing the residents’ stories and learning about their lives.
“They are living history,” she said. “You meet a lot of new people, the residents are always coming and going. It’s nice to talk with the residents and be in this work environment.”
Daniella Grieco, Director of Social Services at Montowese, said the center is a fast-paced environment and has a high focus on short-term rehabilitation nursing and therapy.
“Between our many admissions and discharges, each Social Worker plays a role in the process, and we work together for the best outcome for our residents,” said Grieco. “Our residents are the reason we are here, doing right by them is always the number one priority.”
Grieco further explains that Zielinski has shown dedication and resilience throughout all the changes in healthcare and has sincere loyalty to Montowese.
“She is loved by all our staff and our residents because of how compassionate she is,” Grieco said. “We are very lucky and proud to have her on ‘Team Montowese.’ I will always be cheering Aneila on from the sidelines as she is simply amazing and an asset to our facility. Her hard work and dedication could never go unnoticed.”
Zielinski said she finds herself often repeating the saying “stay calm and carry on,” to her colleagues because things can always change. She shares advice to never stay married to one plan because, as you try to discharge plan or help the residents, things can always change, it’s important to be flexible in the moment and be able to find a new solution for the residents if the original idea doesn’t go as planned, she said.
“It’s rewarding to get a smile from a patient at the end of the day, you get a good feeling about it that,” Zielinski said.