Tell us about your family: I live with my husband Rick, in Syracuse. We’ve been married for 32 years and have six grown children between us—three boys and three girls. We were often called the Brady Bunch. Our children were very close in age, and at one time we had six teenagers in the house. We also have ten grandchildren now.
What activities do you enjoy doing? I enjoy boating. We have a 21-foot speedboat and I enjoy putting around the lake in it while looking at nature, flowers, and houses. One of my hobbies is gardening. We have big flower beds and one rock flower garden. I’m also very active. I play pickleball, which is a cross between tennis and ping pong, walk over five miles a day, and I love to dance.
What kind of dancing? I’ve taken classes of all kinds—jazz, tap, and ballet—even belly dancing! Dancing has always just been a part of me. I don’t belly dance any more—it was very hard to do and you have to practice a lot to keep it up.
How did you become a caregiver at Firefly? My husband saw an ad and mentioned it to me. He thought I’d be a good fit for the job because I was looking for something to do part time. I’m semi-retired and a people-person, and Firefly offers flexible hours. They really work with you to give you the hours you want. I’ve been very pleased with that.
What do you enjoy most about being a caregiver? When you see someone frequently, you develop a friendship. When I come to their home, I try to brighten their day, and they brighten my day. But I really enjoy listening to them tell stories. It’s like listening to history instead of reading it.
Is there a story you can share about one of your clients? One of my male clients really made me feel loved. I had shared a story from my childhood with him, about how my initials with my maiden name were PP. When I was a child, I was teased about my initials, “PP.” After I shared that story with him, he would smile and greet me saying, “PP!” And it was in such a happy and loving way, that I felt loved by that. Later, when he was in the hospital in a semi-coma, I went to visit him. I stood next to him and whispered, “PP is here.” He opened his eyes and said, “PP!” We talked for a few minutes, and then he talked with his wife. It wasn’t long before he passed away. It was such a special moment.
What is something you look forward to doing? I enjoy traveling. My husband and I are going to visit his sister, who lives in Arizona, for a week next month. I also look forward to the longer, mild, and sunny days and spending much more time outside.
The husband of one of Penny’s clients had this to say about her: My wife really likes her. She comes in and takes care of whatever my wife wants her to do. She then offers to do other things too. She really does a fine job when she’s here. I appreciate her. It’s got to be a tough job, and it takes a special kind of person. Firefly picks them really well.