Adelphi University graduate Meaghan Raftery Kaplan is passionate. Her passion to work with the geriatric population is something she discovered early in life.
by Erin Donohue“I’ll never forget the feeling of working with with a person who relies on a feeding tube and through therapy regains the ability to swallow; you’re giving someone back their quality of life.”–Meaghan Raftery Kaplan ’07
Meaghan Raftery Kaplan ’07 is, in a word, passionate. Her passion to work with the geriatric population is something she discovered early in life.
“I feel like I knew from the beginning that I was going to work in geriatrics,” Mrs. Kaplan said. “Part of it was probably born from the caring and respect for older adults that I learned from volunteering in nursing homes. The rest came from observing an aphasia group at the Hy Weinberg Center at Adelphi University. Something about seeing competent adults struggling to speak just broke my heart. I remember feeling like they were trapped and that someone just needed to help them.”
Mrs. Kaplan, a speech-language pathologist, works with elderly patients through Fall River, Massachusetts-based Therapy Resources Management (TRM). TRM provides occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology services to adults in skilled-nursing facilities and private homes.
Recently promoted to rehab manager, Mrs. Kaplan attributes her success to experiences she had at Adelphi, both in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and as a student leader. She served as vice president of the Student Government Association and chief justice of the Student Court. Those positions honed her ability to lead.
“Meaghan was one of those exceptional students who excelled in academics and student life,” said Yula Serpanos, Ph.D., Mrs. Kaplan’s academic advisor and a professor in the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education. “She was a leader among her peers.”
Coming to Adelphi from her hometown of Boston was life-changing for Mrs. Kaplan. She found that Adelphi offered a diverse education and taught her to be a critical thinker and a true global citizen. She also met her husband while attending Adelphi. Although he wasn’t a student here, Mrs. Kaplan credits her Adelphi friends for introducing them.
Mrs. Kaplan joined TRM shortly after a clinical fellowship at a small company where she split her time between a nursing home and an inner-city charter school. Working with kids was fun, but she knew she belonged with the geriatric community full time. Contacted by a job recruiter, she went to work for TRM whose motto is “Do the right thing at the right time for the right reason.”
“I still remember one of the first people I helped start eating again after a stroke,” she said. “His first full meal was pureed pancakes and scrambled eggs. Sure, pureed pancakes sound unappealing, but I’ve heard they’re fantastic when it’s the first meal you’ve eaten in a month.”
Mrs. Kaplan’s workday is varied. It may begin at breakfast retraining a client on how to swallow, and then she could be off to work with someone in need of regaining verbal skills after a stroke.
In addition to her responsibilities as a manager, Mrs, Kaplan mentors new clinical fellows. As much as she enjoys helping her peers, it’s her life-transforming success with patients that provide the most inspiration.
“I’ll never forget the feeling of working with with a person who relies on a feeding tube and through therapy regains the ability to swallow; you’re giving someone back their quality of life,” she said. “We have a saying when people finally go home: ‘Hope we don’t see you again.’ That probably sounds bad, but it’s a way to wish them good health.”
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