“When a client says they can’t wait until I come back, that’s pure bonding, and I love that.” — Linda, Firefly Caregiver
How long have you worked for Firefly? I’m one of Firefly’s veteran caregivers—it will be eight years in October.
How did you become a caregiver for Firefly? I was sixty-two years old when I started. Actually, I had interviewed for a nanny position with the owners of Firefly. But when we met to talk about the job, they thought I’d make a great caregiver. I wasn’t as sure, but I accepted the position. Boy, was I scared with my first assignments. But the staff at Firefly believed in me and provided great support. I found I grew quickly in my job and absolutely love it.
Tell us about your clients? My clients are like my family. We talk and listen to each other—actually we get to know each other almost too well sometimes. Laughing together is the best. When a client says they can’t wait until I come back, that’s pure bonding, and I love that. Eventually, some take the next step and move into assisted living and no longer need my help. I truly miss them and still keep in contact with them through phone calls and visits.
You’ve been with clients in end-of-life stages. What do you do for them? I’ve had a lot of beautiful experiences with end-of-life care. To me, it’s bittersweet. I’m there to comfort them along with Hospice in their last weeks. I hold their hand, and talk to them, and play music that they enjoy. I make sure they know that someone will be by their side until the end.
Besides being a caregiver, you are also a team lead for Firefly. Tell us about that role: When someone is interviewing for a caregiver role, they come out to a client’s home with me for an hour to shadow what I do. This way, they have a better understanding of the job and know that it is something they want to do. Once they start caregiving shifts, I keep in touch with them for the first ninety days to see how it is going, and ask if they need any help, or have questions.
You’ve had a lot of experience in nearly eight years as a caregiver. What are tips you could offer someone new to the job? I tell a new caregiver that when they first meet a client to introduce themselves as soon as they walk in. After that, what is important is that you are trustworthy, compassionate, attentive, and patient. It really comes down to this—you need to always be there for the client and establish their trust in you. It’s important to recognize that they depend on you.
Have you had any special training? Most of what we do as caregivers are the same things we’d do for ourselves and don’t require special training. One training Firefly offered was A Walk Through Dementia Workshop. I would highly recommend attending the next opportunity. It was an eye-opening experience that helped me better understand some of my clients.
What is it like working for Firefly? The team in the office is amazing with pairing caregivers with clients. I’ve had new clients tell me they were told that Firefly had the perfect caregiver for them. When you hear things like that, it’s humbling. I’m semi-retired and work between fifteen and twenty hours a week. The job is flexible, and the Firefly team works with me when I need time off to visit family. I have two grown children, six grandchildren and one great-grandson. I’m a caregiver who really enjoys the work, so I’ll keep doing it until my husband of fifty-one years decides he’s ready to retire, then we’ll decide our next chapter together.