She has met the most interesting people–a nuclear physicist, a chemist, and a mother of 14 are just some of those who come to mind. For Sandy Walker, who has stepped into the role of Region 10 Long Term Care Ombudsman, people are what the work is all about.

“I love sitting and hearing the history of a person,” Walker said. “I have met all kinds of people over the years–people who have worked all of their lives. And I have found that there is always someone young inside, though the shell is old.”

Walker has spent much of her career with seniors and adults in care facilities, both as a nurse and social worker.

“I have always enjoyed working with the geriatric population,” she said. “I spent 12 years with Valley Manor Care Center as a floor nurse and social worker, and have been a home health nurse as well. I have also provided respiratory care and worked in a doctor’s office. Between social work and nursing, I have dealt with many issues.”

As ombudsman Walker’s experience will prove invaluable; her role is to oversee quality of care and advocate for residents of long term care facilities throughout a six-county region. She joins a team of volunteer ombudsmen coordinated through Region 10 Community Living Services.

“I am tickled pink to be back with the senior population, and working with the frail elderly,” she said. “I like to think, what if this was my mom, my grandma or me? It is important to bring a personal touch. The people we represent have worked hard all of their lives, and have the right to respectful care.”

Walker said she looks forward to being “the boots on the ground,” and to spending time in regional care facilities.

“It is a proven fact that when there is community oversight–somebody watching–that care will improve,” she said.

“Sandy is very well-qualified, and will be a great asset here,” Region 10 Community Living Services Options Counselor Amy Rowan said.

For more information regarding the ombudsmen program, please contact Region 10 at (970) 249-2436 or visit our the Community Living Services site