As you can see from our series on caregiving (see links below), our caregivers are some of the finest individuals in the profession. They all have caring hearts.
We would like to introduce you to three of our caregivers. Here are their stories, why they chose to serve as caregivers and why they are attracted to Andelcare.
Elizabeth Maina Raised to Respect Elders
When Elizabeth Maina was a youngster in Kenya, she was the one her grandmother called to tend a foot problem. Elizabeth also nursed a relative after his surgery and later when working as a secretary, she was the “go-to” relative who would take a day off and drive relatives to the doctor or hospital.
“I was raised in a big family and close community, loving each other and helping one another,” explains 59-year-old Elizabeth. “I felt for my family members and found it very fulfilling to help them.”
Since then, Elizabeth has worked as a caregiver for many years in North Carolina and most recently for Andelcare. She has cared for all sorts of clients including those with cancer, dementia and orthopedic problems. Elizabeth says it really doesn’t matter what the ailment is, “Once I meet a client, connect with them and learn exactly what they like, I know what they want me to do.”
In fact, Elizabeth describes what motivates her, “I am called to serve and I feel committed to my clients.”
She understands that sometimes clients need help accepting her. As a result, she uses her many people and heart skills to listen and behave authentically. She helps clients’ learn to trust her by always arriving on time, showing empathy for their situation and doing her best to meet clients’ needs. “It is very important to win client’s trust,” says Elizabeth. “But after we connect it is a satisfying relationship for both of us.”
And what about Andelcare? Elizabeth notes that she was referred to the agency about a year ago and has been working about 40 hours a week ever since, “I am proud to work for Andelcare and they are respected.”
Patricia Shelton Enjoys Personal Connections
Patricia Shelton has served as a caregiver most of her working life. Except for when she was raising her own family, the 61-year-old has worked in caregiving situations, ranging from facilities to in-home and live-in care.
At age 19 Patricia started work at a facility in Puyallup and later did-in-home care for three years before marrying. After the kids went to school, she took her CNN and resumed caregiving in clients’ homes. She has been a “regular” for Andelcare since March 2009 and appreciates the agency’s ability to support clients and caregivers.
“I like the personal connection, the one-on-one of caregiving,” says Patricia, who has worked with Parkinson’s and many other kinds of ailments. “As the mother of a developmentally disabled child, I also have a feel for disabled and geriatric clients.”
Although Patricia is modest about her accomplishments, she has been described by a facility nurse as the “backbone of this place!”
Similar to Elizabeth, Patricia says she makes it a priority to find out what the client wants and help them maintain the lifestyle they are accustomed to, “I am an extension of them, to support them through the day and to help them enjoy a quality life.”
She admits those goals are not always easy to achieve. But she listens and within the limits of safety, tries to meet the client’s needs.
What makes a great caregiver? “You have to really like people, have a big heart and be willing to put your personal agenda aside,” observes Patricia. “It’s not about you anymore, it’s all about them!”
Charlie Margolis Values Assisting Clients
At age 56, Charlie Margolis has experienced lots of different kinds of work and training. But the former teacher, coach, parent and health care worker finds caregiving fits him most naturally at this point in his life.
“I think I’m a good caregiver because I have a genuine interest in helping care for people who need various kinds of assistance,” notes Charlie. “I also enjoy meeting interesting people and families from diverse backgrounds.”
Charlie started work for Andelcare about two years ago and has served a variety of clients including those with dementia, cancer and mobility issues. He finds his job typically is to provide companionship and support. With clients who have experienced spinal cord injuries or accidents, Charlie’s role is often to assist them through their routine.
In Charlie’s opinion Andelcare does a particularly good job of matching clients with caregivers. He feels very comfortable with the clients he has been paired with.
What makes a good caregiver? “It’s imperative they really are a caring person and put the client’s needs at the forefront,” concludes Charlie. “Caregivers also benefit from training to have the skills and confidence to do a good job.”
What do you think makes a good caregiver?
What makes YOU a good caregiver?