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Above and Beyond: A Day in The Life of a Professional Caregiver

When you picture what an in-home caregiver does, you may think about the help they give seniors with housekeeping, transportation, meal prep, etc. In other words, helping with ADLs (the activities of daily life). It’s true that this is the basic job description of a caregiver, but when it comes to the day-to-day of the job, there’s so much more they do. 

They help people in various stages of life, and with different conditions (check out our specialty programs for more info) and they go into homes and assisted living facilities to serve their clients. They bring not only their experience and skills, but also their interests and passions into their jobs.

In this article, we’ll introduce to you four of our amazing caregivers and share what their typical day looks like. This is just a small sampling of what our caregivers do, but we hope it gives you more insight into how our caregivers strive for excellence and go above and beyond for the seniors in our community.  

Meet Ellen

Ellen spent the first part of her career in entertainment and the arts but found caregiving in her 50’s after she helped to take care of her father for the last few years of his life. Ellen is trained in hospice and is passionate about helping others in the last days of their lives.

Ellen’s typical day: 

“Over the years, I’ve had a lot of different clients with different conditions.  I’ve been with one client for five years now, and the first thing that I do at the start of the shift is a quick check that she is physically healthy/ok. Then I help her with her showering and dressing.  During that process I’m watching and asking more probing questions to assess her health.  

During the day I do housekeeping and prepare meals for her. We go shopping, go to any medical appointments she has, and we get exercise in. She loves to swim, so we go to the pool so she can do that, and we also walk. Basically, I’m her house manager and I organize her schedule, return phone calls, make coffee, refill prescriptions, etc. She also loves to eat out, and part of my job is finding a new restaurant to try (we get takeout).

Food becomes a real nostalgic pleasure as you age. Another client had an old recipe book and really wanted to make recipes from her mother.  She didn’t have anyone to do it with her and she couldn’t do it on her own, so I started making them for her. It became a real thrill for her and was a really fun thing to do. I love doing things that make a difference. I was able to help a lady write her life story.  I wrote them down as she told them, and it ended up being about 16 stories and taking a few years. The stories were always special moments in her life, and it also helps the client with processing the end of their life. Everyone has interesting stories and I love listening to them. 

I also try to protect them from scams. It’s almost a daily activity! The scams might be by mail or online. I also help them with basic computer issues and tech stuff like uploading photos, emailing loved ones, or online shopping. 

Another important duty is advocating for my clients at medical appointments.  They need someone to speak up for them.  Knowing what questions to ask and when to push back for the client.  Seniors are often afraid to ask questions, or they feel apprehensive when talking with the doctor.”

Read more of Ellen’s story in our Caregiver Spotlight feature.

Meet Janie

Janie’s interest in healthcare began in high school when she volunteered as a candy striper. She’s been a caregiver for most of her 40+ year work history since and is certified as a CNA and a home health aide. Janie loves connecting with her clients and helping them feel loved and appreciated.

Janie’s typical day: 

“I currently have only have one client but I’m about to start with another soon. The woman that I’m caring for now has been bedridden for 5 years and is tough as nails! Her family caregivers are her daughters, who are wonderful and take turns caring for her when a professional caregiver isn’t there. They’re so happy that someone is there that really cares for their mom when they are not. 

My responsibilities are basically everything that needs to be done in the household – cleaning, etc. and I’ve also cooked for her. I had to learn to cook vegetarian food, which was new for me but I enjoy it. I also change and turn her periodically to avoid bedsores. She can’t speak but I read to her and she smiles. I put on older shows on TV and she likes that as well. Clients need this kind of stimulation.” 

Read more of Janie’s story in our Caregiver Spotlight feature.

Meet Devita

Devita is newer to professional caregiving but has been helping take care of family members for many years. She recently completed a degree in Human Development from Sonoma State University and likes to put her skills making seniors feel seen and heard to use both on and off the job.

Devita’s typical day: 

“When I worked with clients in their home, my typical day started with making breakfast and bringing in the paper. I would feed their pets if they had them, and we would chat throughout the day. I’d do housekeeping tasks and help them with bathing and using the restroom since many were fall risks. 

Right now, I see many clients at an assisted living facility, which is more about companionship. We talk, watch TV, and I take them to do activities like bingo. We walk around the neighborhood and courtyard, and sometimes walk to a nearby bakery.

Basically, I’m a friend to them!

My favorite client right now is Bonnie. She’s so sassy and I love it! She’s very funny and caring and is always put together. She likes to go get her hair done.”

Read more of Devita’s story in our Caregiver Spotlight feature.

Meet Cindy

Cindy’s caregiving experience started with her mother who suffered from dementia. She started working with us 6 years ago when she was 54 and decided it was time for a career change. She enjoys sharing her passion for the arts with her clients. 

Cindy’s typical day:

“Prior to COVID, I was working with a few different clients at once. Currently, I just have one client who I care for about 20 hours per week. She has Alzheimer’s, so it was a little challenging at first. But now that I’ve gotten to know her and her needs, we’ve built a great rapport and it’s like a friend visiting. 

She has an art background, which is a passion of mine as well, so a lot of our time together is spent doing arts and crafts projects while we chat. She also likes music and singing, so we listen to music, too. The most important thing is connection. It’s so great for them to have someone they can talk to and do activities with. It’s vital human contact. 

When I arrive for the morning shifts, I typically make her breakfast and then take care of any household chores like cleaning up the kitchen and making the bed. For the afternoon shifts, I’ll make her lunch if she hasn’t had it yet or snacks throughout the day. I like cooking, so I enjoy this part of the job! Her husband and children are very loving and supportive – it’s a beautiful thing to see. You couldn’t ask for a better family to work with.”

Read more of Cindy’s story in our Caregiver Spotlight feature.

Conclusion:

Caregivers do so much more than most people think! It takes a special kind of person to do this job, and we’re so proud of all the amazing caregivers at Sequoia Senior Solutions. Ready to bring in a professional caregiver to help your parent or loved one? Simply fill out this form and a client service specialist will contact you at your convenience. 

And if you want to learn more about how to get started on your own caregiving journey with Sequoia Senior Solutions, we’re hiring! You can learn more about the job here, and check out our Top Ten Reasons to Be a Professional Caregiver post.

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