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 isn’t stopping anytime soon. Learn more about her in our “Caregiver Spotlight.”
What’s your background and how did you get into caregiving?
I’ve been caregiving off and on for most of my life, working privately, in residential homes, and with in-home care agencies. Healthcare has always been an interest of mine. When I was in high school and thinking about careers, my counselor sent me to the local hospital to volunteer as a candy striper since I have always loved helping others. I loved it. I got to read to them, their letters/cards, and bring them water and I started learning about precautions you take when working in healthcare.
From there I became a CNA and also got certified as a home health aide. I worked in Lake Tahoe and then in Lakeport in different environments. While I had jobs in between like retail or bartending, I always fell back to caregiving. I believe that God put me on this earth to care for others.
I’ve also gone through the experience of helping to care for my mother before she died. I would give my brother breaks on the weekend, and we had hospice coming in for a while before she passed from cancer.
What does an average day look like for you?
I currently have only 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.
What do you like about being a caregiver?
The feeling that I get when I go home. Knowing that you did a good job for your client. It’s a feeling I have inside my soul. It’s not just a job it’s more than that – it’s part of me and my life. I also like being independent in my work.
What do you like to do outside of work? Any plans for the future?
I love spending time with my two grandchildren! I also like watching old shows and movies. I share a love for older shows with my current client. I put Andy Griffith on tv and talk to her about it and it sparks something in her. I have a dog I like to hang out with, too.
In terms of the future, I’ll keep doing it until I can’t. I’d like to possibly move to Fort Bragg. Either way, I will stay active!
What’s the best part of working for Sequoia Senior Solutions?
There are many things! I enjoy the freedom of going to a client on my own – they trust and respect that I will do my best for the company. The communication and teamwork is good as well. I feel appreciated and can talk to them. I also feel I have job security because the company has been in business for a long time. Sequoia is probably the best paying job that I’ve had as a caregiver.
I’ve also taken all of the great training courses. I think they’re essential even for experienced caregivers to refresh their knowledge.
Any advice for those who want to become a caregiver?
To be a good caregiver you have to be a people person and have empathy. Treat them with respect and integrity and don’t talk to them like they’re children. I would also say learning good mechanics is key. You can easily hurt yourself when moving your client if not done properly
When you meet a new client, remember that they may be scared and hesitant. I try to get to know them right off the bat, starting with asking them “What would you like me to call you?” Make a joke to break the ice a little. When they feel comfortable it makes the relationship much better. Be yourself and smile!
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. You can also read more caregiver stories on our blog.