By Edy Toribio Rosenfeld, RN BSN –
It was a pleasure to sit down and talk with Estella Vélez Upegui in her office at 55 Troup St.
Estella is a Star program supervisor for the Catholic Family Center, where she began working in 2006.
She also collaborates with other local agencies, such as LifeTime Health, educating and supporting families with members who have Alzheimer’s. With a big smile, Estella said that her work has been rewarding, since she’s had the opportunity to help people with many needs.
Her clients are mostly Hispanic, and over 60 years of age.
She also mentioned that not speaking the English language can be a barrier for many people.
As a result, the Star program provides transportation to medical appointments, to the grocery store and helping to connect people with other services in the community.
Estella also has an interpreter’s license, which has been very useful in her work.
She also works one day a week going to patient’s with Alzheimer’s homes to talk to relatives and friends who are dealing with the disease.
According to Estella, it is important to provide patients with education and materials about the disease because it can help to understand how to manage the disease, and improve the quality of life for many people.
It was even beneficial in her own family when her mother became ill with dementia. Estella was able to help her siblings understand the physiological and mental changes of the disease.