Ever wonder what it’s like to be a caregiver and if it might be right for you? Check out Devita’s story and what she likes about the job in our “Caregiver Spotlight.”
What’s your background and how did you get into caregiving?
I’ve been working as a professional caregiver for about a year and a half, but I had been helping my mom and aunt take care of my grandma since high school. She deteriorated quickly after my grandfather died in 2010 and got dementia and became nonverbal.
I started as a professional caregiver with another company during the pandemic when my hours were cut at my retail job. I moved over to Sequoia Senior Solutions because there was always a lot of turnover with management at my old company, and they were not very communicative. But I liked caregiving and the feeling of helping, and my sorority sister Nadia recommended Sequoia. I’ve worked here since the beginning of 2021.
In the beginning, it was tricky because I was finishing up my senior year at Sonoma State and had a busy schedule. But Will and Emily were always willing to find me clients and hours, and they and Gabriella were great about walking me through all the steps to get me onboard.
My degree in human development has helped me in this job because I took classes on gerontology and aging. I hope to get my master’s degree in public health and soon I will start doing some work with the homeless population. But I’ll continue to work as a caregiver since I enjoy it and the schedule is flexible.
What does an average day look like for you?
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.
What do you like about being a caregiver?
The biggest benefit is feeling the satisfaction of helping. The clients were all young at one point and very independent, but now it’s gotten hard for them. Every time I go to a new client I think about my grandparents and how I would want them to be treated and how I would want their last moments of life to be. To be treated well and to be helped – just to have an easier time instead of stressing out and having anxiety.
In my time being a caregiver, I have definitely learned patience and other skills that will carry over into future jobs and life in general. Now that I’m a caregiver I feel more comfortable talking with older people because I now understand what they’re going through. When I am out at various places and see older people, I strike up conversations because I know that one small comment or compliment can brighten their day. When you’re older, things can be way harder than they are for younger people, and that interaction can help them feel seen as a person.
Another great part is getting to hear what life was like before you were born and what it’s like now versus then. Many are still really independent and it’s fun to see their different personalities.
What’s the best part of working for Sequoia Senior Solutions?
They care a LOT, and everybody is very communicative. I’ve worked for other companies as a caregiver and I didn’t feel I was prioritized, but here they care about caregiver mental health. If I have a family situation, they’re very open and understanding and check to make sure I’m okay.
The trainings are very informative. They’re not at all boring and you can do them at your own pace. The managers really encourage you to do them, and you get raises. You are always recognized as you complete new trainings.
Any advice for those who want to become a caregiver?
People think it’s much harder than it is! They say, “I could never do that!” but it’s more about compassion and emotion. Many people think about the bodily functions part, but for most clients that isn’t the majority of the job.
It does take patience. What we think is easy can be hard for them. And you do get emotionally invested, so you need to be ready for that and be able to separate the personal from the professional. But if you have the desire to help and to want to better people’s lives – this would be a great job for you. Ready 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.