“I would work 100 hours if [my client] needed it, to be sure she is well cared for.” – Brandy H., Firefly Caregiver
How did you choose caregiving as a career? My father became very sick when he was in his 30s and it was ten years before he passed away. I had many questions about my father and what he was going through, but no one could answer my questions. That experience made me want to make a difference for people going through the same thing. I wanted to help people who were sick or terminally ill, and I especially wanted them to know that they were loved and felt cared for properly.
How much experience do you have in caregiving? I have been in the caregiving field for twenty-one years. In my twenties, I started working in a nursing home, then later I worked in hospice care before moving into home health care. I’ve taken classes and acquired certifications in CPR and as a nursing assistant and home health aide. I take continuing education to stay knowledgeable, and I recertify every two years.
When did you begin working with Firefly? About a year ago, I started working for them. I had retired myself for a time and was doing volunteer work when Firefly’s recruiter contacted me. I had forgotten I had my resume on Indeed, but she found me, and thought I would be a great fit for a caregiver. After talking with her a few times, I thought if Firefly’s recruiter was this kind and caring, there was something to this company. She really drew me in. I started as a caregiver, and a few months ago, I was promoted to lead caregiver for this client.
What does a lead caregiver do? I maintain the client’s care plan and I’m responsible for training other caregivers. I also maintain open communication between the client, the client’s family, and the Firefly office. I make sure the client’s schedule is accurate. I’m there every day and know what she needs and what supplies she’s going to run out of and I prepare a list of those items for the client’s granddaughter to order.
You only have one client? Yes. When Firefly hired me, it was for a specific need for shifts for this client. I went from working weekend shifts to working most overnight shifts with her. She is a very interesting ninety-five-year-old woman. Her mind is very sharp, and she is very healthy. She just needs help and companionship. I would work 100 hours if Dorothy needed it, to be sure she is well cared for.
What types of things do you do for her on an overnight shift? I am with her from 8pm until around 9 am on the nights I work. We look at her photo albums and she shares amazing stories of the many places she has traveled. She also likes to watch the Golden Girls and her absolute favorite show is Mash. I get her ready for bed at night, and then get her up, showered and ready for the day. I have also started washing, drying, and setting her hair—she really enjoys that. For Christmas I bought her a foot bath, and she absolutely loves that. I try to do that with her at least once a week. I try to pamper her while I’m there.
Dorothy, Brandy’s client, had this to say about her: She is here when I get up in the morning, gets me dressed, and fixes breakfast. Then she goes home and comes back in the evening, gets me ready for bed and stays overnight. She is here if I need anything. She is almost constantly on the move and always doing something. If she thinks the floor needs cleaned, she does it. If she thinks the laundry needs done, she does it. I never have to ask her to do anything. Before I go to bed, we have time to talk—just girl talk, or we look at photo albums and talk about the places I have been in the world.