“Even if I won a lottery, I’d still work as a caregiver.” – Dominga S.
Tell us a little about you: My grandparents were migrant workers and my parents were sent ahead to the next location to get things situated. They were just passing through Gettysburg, Pennsylvania when I was born. My mother said I was in a rush to come into this world. I spent my childhood in the deep south of Texas and it’s there where I raised my family. I have eight children—five sons and three daughters. I also have twenty-eight grandchildren. For most of my life, I lived in Texas, but I have lived in Indiana for the past three years. The first time it snowed here, I was in awe. I like the snow, but I could do without the cold.
What is your role with Firefly? I’ve been a caregiver for over twenty years, and I’ve been with Firefly for nearly two years. As a caregiver, I assist with bathing and prepare meals. I also keep up with basic household necessities.
How many clients do you care for? I prefer to only have one client at a time. I see my client, Nancy, seven days a week—except for my off weekends. As a ninety-four-year-old, it’s difficult to have several people in and out of her house to provide care. I am there every day, so she doesn’t need to tell me things that need to be done. I already know.
What is something special you do with your client? I love to listen to her tell stories and share her memories. When she talks about her parents and her upbringing, I can see a sparkle in her eyes. She’ll sometimes say she’s already told me a story before, but I’ll tell her I don’t mind. I enjoy listening to her, and I can tell reminiscing is important to her. My mother recently passed away, and Nancy was so kind. She told me that the grief never gets better. It’s a part of you that you’ll never forget. But with each passing day, it gets better. Hearing that was a comfort to me.
What is your favorite part of caregiving? The one-on-one care I can do with them. When a family member is caring for an elderly loved one, it can be very hard. It can be very difficult for a parent to feel dependent upon their children. That’s where I can come in and help.
What advice would you give to a new caregiver? This job is not for everybody. You have to be passionate about caregiving. It’s a different job every day. One day could be frustrating. Another day could be a breeze. The next day could be emotional. If your heart isn’t in it, this isn’t the job for you. I’ll also tell them that the family of the client is trusting you to go into the client’s home and assist with their loved one. It’s important that you take care of your client how you would like someone to care for your parent or grandparent.
What would you do if you won the lottery? Even if I won a lottery, I’d still work as a caregiver. If I ever came into a big amount of money, I’d like to make a facility where families could be with their elder parents. I’d like to create something that feels more like a home than a nursing facility.
Are you doing anything for the upcoming holidays? Yes, I’m leaving tomorrow to visit my twin grandbabies—a boy and a girl—in Cincinnati. Then, I’m heading down to Texas to spend time with more family.