Those Who Serve: Agatha

Agatha Landford started her journey at BHN as a part-time home health aid for one of BHN’s emergency residences; 15 years later, she’s now in charge of that very same residence. In addition to hard work, it’s her inherent ability to put others before herself that has brought her to where she is today.

The emergency developmental residence in Amherst, with a capacity of four beds, takes in individuals who have a developmental disability and who require immediate intervention. Because of this, “People come and go,” according to Agatha. Now the Residential Supervisor for the emergency residence in Amherst, Agatha oversees the intake and continued care of individuals who come to the residence. Due to the high turnover rate, it may be tempting for care providers to distance themselves emotionally from clients, focusing only on the checklist of items they must complete each day. Agatha, however, is different.

Growing up, Agatha wanted to become a nurse. “I’ve always been a nurturer, I love taking care of people,” she says. When her path led her to social work, she took a part-time position with BHN as a home health aid at the emergency residence in Amherst. Immediately, her peers saw something special in her. Over the next several years, she was promoted to full-time, then to lead-staff, then to her current role as supervisor. Agatha has many memories and stories of people she’s served over the years, and her most memorable experiences reveal the qualities that have fueled her success. One example is an individual she had grown close with — so close that she was considered family. According to Agatha, “His mom would come out to visit me when I worked on Sundays. Every Sunday she would bring food and say how happy she was with the work we were doing to take care of her son. We invited her and the rest of their family to the residence for dinner each week.” Perhaps most importantly, “We made a home for them.” When the individual’s mother passed away, Agatha attended the funeral with him and helped him through the grieving process.

As a nurturer, Agatha’s priority is serving the needs of others. With so much success doing this over the years, the challenge she faces now is finding time for self-care. “I admit that I don’t spend enough time taking care of myself, I’m still learning how to do that,” she says. When she does remember to take care of herself, Agatha loves music, and if she’s having a particularly difficult day, she gets in her car and drives without a destination, singing along to her favorite songs. Agatha sees herself doing this work for quite a while. “My mindset has always been, ‘If I’m going to do this, I’m putting my all into it.’” For Agatha, it’s more than just a residence, “It’s a home. We’re a family,” – a family that will continue to grow under Agatha’s leadership.