Described as a “beacon of hope,” Susanne Basso has a wealth of lifetime experiences and perspective to share with the patients she works with. As a volunteer in the geriatric psychiatric unit, Basso tirelessly volunteers six days a week.
She credits her upbringing in Manhattan’s ethnically diverse Lower East Side for cultivating her sense of compassion and empathy. “This introduced me to all types of people,” says Basso. “Early on, my view of misfortune and adversity brought on a personal strength and belief that sometimes life doesn’t make sense. This developed my compassion.”
For more than a decade, Basso has extended compassion, comfort, and support to patients with major depression, schizophrenia, and other diagnoses. Through group discussions, she empowers them to discover hope, find self-worth, and define achievable goals. “As a senior, I’m respected as a peer and admired as a role model,” admits Basso.
Her sensitivity and understanding of others can also be traced back to a lifelong interest in psychology and Basso’s earlier involvement with Interns for Peace, an organization that aims to promote peace and foster understanding among people of conflicting cultures. Through the organization, Basso was fortunate to travel abroad, which broadened her perspective, providing an even deeper understanding of people and cultures.
Beyond her work with geriatric patients, Basso volunteers at Recovery Incorporated. Previous stints include volunteering at Alzheimer’s Association and Edna L. Roker Social Adult Day Center. In 2016, Basso was granted a volunteer achievement award from the United Hospital Fund.