What led you to work with senior citizens? I would say one important factor I attribute to what I learned from my parents. They emphasized and modeled the importance and value of creating relationships with people. I remember when I was growing up, there was an elderly gentleman in our church who lived near us. We went to his house sometimes after church to visit. It was an opportunity to connect on a more personal level. If there was someone new who moved into our neighborhood, my dad made it a point to welcome them. My parents believed in making personal connections, and they involved me and my siblings. I’ve seen the value of cultivating relationships with other people and try to model that myself.
What does “connecting authentically” with a client mean to you? When I meet a client for the first time, I make sure I wear my Firefly badge that identifies me as a Firefly caregiver. Then, because I wear a mask when I with a client, when they first come to the door, I take several steps backward and remove my mask so they can see my face. Then I smile and introduce myself. This way, the client has time to see me and know what I look like. Then I put my mask back on and enter their home. It’s just one way to make a personal connection in this world we live in now.
What characteristics do you think a person needs to be good at caregiving? I believe you have to be authentic and sincere, and show you really want to help them. You need to interact and engage the client in conversation. When I’m doing personal hygiene care, I try to make them as comfortable as possible. I explain what I want to do next, and ask if it’s okay with them. These steps make a difference, and clients appreciate them. Authentically listening is also important. I may not understand what they are going through, but I can let them know that I’m someone who genuinely cares.
Tell us about your experience working for Firefly: I can truthfully say that I appreciate the office staff. They do an incredible job of accommodating caregivers and clients. I also believe working for Firefly has taught me to be more relaxed, more flexible, and to not be so ingrained in the small things. As a wife, mother, and caregiver, it’s a constant struggle to balance and prioritize my obligations. I’m thankful that Firefly acknowledges the importance of family.