When Ruth Tanti visited Villa Messina for the first time 22 years ago, she felt deep down inside that her biggest wish was to work in care.

She went back home and decided she would give them a call. Her two sons were five and seven at the time.

“I remember telling my friends how I wished to work here. I could work mornings, so I would be there for my boys when they returned home from school,” says the senior carer from Rabat, who lives in Dingli.

“I applied in September and started as a part-time carer in October, when my sons started school. Twenty-two years down the line I am fully committed to my job, and my boys are 27 and 29 years old. I don’t know where time went.”

Ruth, 54, who has been a senior carer for the past 15 years, loves her job and wouldn’t change it for the world.

“Both my grandmother, who suffered a stroke when I was a young girl, and my uncle, who had a disability, lived with us and depended entirely on my mother. So I was there for them and was always exposed to a loving and caring atmosphere. Care is a quality I was born with.”

To Ruth, the residents mean everything.

“To work in care, you must have a big and generous heart. I respect them, understand them and love them like my own family.”

As a senior carer, Ruth is in charge of a team of carers and has 41 residents under her wing. Every morning, she greets them joyfully, then assigns specific duties to her team. Her day starts off with a to-do list, according to her diary.

“This could be a visit by the medical doctor, podologist, speech language therapist, or even the physiotherapist. I am constantly in touch with my team of carers throughout the day and we’re always prepared for any situation that could possibly arise.”

Ruth also strongly believes in the importance of training. “Training gives you the specific knowledge and skills to improve your performance. CareMalta holds regular courses for staff members. I have attended a number of these sessions more than once to keep myself updated, and every time I learn something new and interesting.”

Teamwork and values are two other crucial elements in the care chain. “Having a good relationship with my team and lending a helping hand when needed, even if this means carrying out a range of tasks outside my role, fills me with a sense of reassurance, knowing that, ultimately, our residents stand to benefit.”

Just like her many ups and downs in her personal life, Ruth’s working day is full of challenges, “but my greatest satisfaction is when residents greet me with a big smile as soon as they see me”. “My relationship with the residents is built on an element of trust. Once they know that you are ready to help them and love them unconditionally, you have won them over.”

When Ruth is caring for residents, her vulnerable and frail parents come to mind, her mother and father whom she is not seeing because of the pandemic. “Now, more than ever, I can really understand that our residents need all the help they can get, as they are far away from their loved ones.”

Values, such as compassion and dignity, are embraced on a daily basis. “Caring for older persons means being their voice, being there when they need you most, being involved, especially at this difficult time. Whether it’s just a gentle touch, a smile that speaks a thousand words or simply a caress, I can tell from their glance or a nod of their head that they have appreciated my gesture. This makes my day. It’s my most precious gift at the end of a tiring shift.”

Call 2145 4889 or 2250 0000 for an appointment with the facility manager or for a tour of Villa Messina. For more information, you can also visit www.caremalta.com/ villa-messina or e-mail villamessina@caremalta.com.