Published on July 17, 2018

A caregiver and a friend

Syree Ellis, 26, always looks forward to Monday mornings.

Syree EllisIt’s the start of his work week as a Personal Care Assistant at the Mercy LIFE – West Philadelphia Day Center.

“I love what I do,” he says. “I feel like I’m making a positive difference in people’s lives.”

Every day, Syree is paired with the same five participants, who now feel like family to him. Like all of the roughly 500 seniors at the Day Center, the participants Syree works with have serious health problems. Syree helps them in big and small ways—with showering, eating and moving safely. He might help them do stretching exercises in a wheelchair, paint pictures in a crafts class or, if asked, read a Bible passage out loud.

Syree listens, too, if a participant is feeling a little down.

“I’m here to add spark to the participants’ lives—to keep them active and engaged,” he says.

A special bond

Syree is one of 28 Personal Care Assistants at the Day Center, and in many ways, they’re the backbone of Mercy LIFE – West Philadelphia care.

“We’re the first person to welcome our participants and the last to say goodbye,” Syree says. “And we’re at their side throughout the day. If there’s even a subtle change in someone’s condition, we’re aware of it and can alert the appropriate person.”

But as much as he gives to the participants, Syree thinks he may get back even more.

“By example, our participants are teaching me about resiliency,” he says. “I see what challenges they face with so much strength. They inspire me.”

Learn if you qualify for Mercy LIFE – West Philadelphia. Call 267.787.8282.