Hi! My name is Virginia Friedman, and I serve as the Spiritual Care Director for Ridgeway Manor. Let me first say how humbled and honored I am to be serving in this capacity. I do believe it makes Ridgeway Manor unique, in that other skilled-care facilities typically do not have a professional spiritual resource on staff. It is our belief that truly holistic, person-centered care must also tend to one’s spiritual well-being.
Some 17 years ago, when I was teaching for Baltimore County, I started volunteering in the eldercare environment, and I’ve never looked back. I stopped teaching, took the job originally as Glynn Taff’s Activities Director, and spent the next 6 years going to Wesley Theological Seminary at night to earn my graduate degree with an emphasis in Pastoral Care of the Older Adult. I now direct my energy fully toward all the special people living at Ridgeway Manor. Despite the excellent staff, I strongly believe there still needs to be someone who can focus more fully on companioning with the residents, someone whose primary focus is to be there for them in times of loneliness, illness, transition, or loss. I like to think of my position as a "practitioner of compassion ...a ministry of mercy," someone to literally love them through this often-difficult period.
Spiritual care can take many forms, but its goal is to bring truly holistic care to our residents, helping them to live with hope, peace, and even joy. At times spiritual care is religious ---reflecting on Scripture, singing familiar hymns, being in prayer --- but not always. The most important thing is to love and respect each resident, to come to know them as the unique individuals God created them to be. An eldercare home brings people of many faiths together,but we all have the divine life-giving spirit of God within us. We all share in this earthly existence, struggling with the same questions about life, death, and our place in this world. I will always do my best to honor each person’s beliefs and to meet them where they are. I am also able to officiate memorial services, should a family want or need me to do so.
My hope is to be an additional source of comfort and support for both residents and their family members. My days are full. You may see me wearing other hats and helping with activities, but whatever I’m doing, I pray it blesses those whom I serve. They surely bless me!
Virginia Friedman, MA
Spiritual Care Director