Alison Lynn, MSW, LCSW, has been promoted to Director of Social Work at the Penn Memory Center (PMC).
As director, Lynn will continue to support individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease related dementias (AD/ADRD) and their family unit throughout disease progression.
“We want patients and caregivers to feel as though they have a safety net beneath them of someone who believes in them and can provide the tools they need to start this new part of their life,” said Lynn.
The social work team at PMC has grown exponentially in the past few years and is working on providing more inclusive and diverse programming.
As director, Lynn plans to continue expanding programming which is inclusive to people of different socioeconomic, racial, and religious backgrounds.
“Often, educational resources are geared towards white upper-class individuals. Our team wants to start focusing on initiatives which celebrate different kinds of people, families, and relationships,” said Lynn.
PMC Executive Director Felicia Greenfield, MSW, LCSW, is thrilled for Lynn as she embarks on this next chapter.
“This promotion is richly deserved. As director of social work, Alison will continue to oversee PMC’s novel and high-quality care programs,” said Greenfield. “She brings compassion and excellence to all she does, and I am grateful to Alison for her contributions.”
Through counseling, classes, and groups, a primary team goal is to improve outcomes by reducing stress and anxiety, while enhancing psychosocial well-being.
“The social side of AD/ADRD doesn’t get a lot of attention. Caregiver devotion is often invisible and unrecognized,” said Lynn.
When a patient’s AD/ADRD symptoms progress, both they and their loved ones face loss. Examples include loss of daily independence, such as the ability to drive or loss of companionship from a partner or parent.
This can be a very painful and gradual transition for both parties.
“My goal is always to try and validate someone’s experience and help them feel emotionally supported,” said Lynn.
Lynn joined PMC in 2015 as a social work intern and remained in an interim position before being hired as a full-time social worker.
While she worked in geriatrics prior to graduate school, her time at PMC clarified her specialization of working with patients living with dementia and their caregivers.
Lynn’s personal experiences inspired the passion behind her work.
“My grandmother had Lewy body dementia, and my mom is a hospice nurse. To see the care she received was really beautiful, but I was highly aware that having access to so many resources is uncommon,” said Lynn.
As Lynn begins this new role, she feels immensely grateful for the supportive work environment and patient community at PMC.
“I am particularly grateful to Felicia, who has been a real mentor and advocate for me. I am also grateful to our entire interdisciplinary team—It’s rare to feel this valued as a social worker in a medical setting,” said Lynn.
Beyond her personal career growth, Lynn is grateful for the role she has played during sacred moments with patients and their families.
“I love my job because I am honored to be included in people’s lives. They share some of their most intimate, painful, and happy experiences with me, and that is a real gift,” said Lynn.