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Caregiving: A Job From the Heart

It takes a special kind of person to be a professional caregiver.   Most people would probably say they don’t have the patience required for this kind of work.  Only truly compassionate, tolerant individuals are qualified to handle the ups and downs, both physically and emotionally, that come with caregiving.  A recent Home Care Plus Caregiver of the Month was kind enough to share her thoughts and feelings regarding her career as a caregiver with us.  She wishes to be referred to by her initials only.  K.G. has been a caregiver since she was 17 years old, and Home Care Plus has been fortunate to have her on our staff for the last year.

When asked why she chose caregiving, K.G. immediately responded by saying she has always loved working with the elderly.  She appreciates the one-on-one nature of the job, saying it allows her to spend as much time and attention as needed with a client.  For her, the most rewarding part of the job is knowing that she is making a difference in someone’s life.  Oftentimes her clients are feeling down and out and just want someone to sit with them.  K.G. is quick with a smile, hug, or to hold their hand.  She says it is as much about being a companion to the client as it is giving them their medicine or straightening the house.  Obviously the job comes with challenges, and K.G. says to be in this field you have to be compassionate and truly love what you do.  She enjoys a challenge and views every new client as an opportunity to learn how to work with different people coming from different backgrounds and circumstances.

As a professional caregiver, you are supposed to keep a certain emotional distance from your clients.  Given the compassionate nature of the individuals who choose this career path, however, it can be difficult not to become attached to a client.  K.G. often struggles with this as she grows close to her clients over the weeks and months they spend together.  Sometimes her patients require even more care than she can provide and must be moved to a nursing home; others pass away.  Neither scenario is an easy one to come to terms with.  As she reflects over her many years of caregiving, K.G. fondly recalls all of the kind letters she has received from her clients’ families.  A kind word can go a long way towards helping someone feel appreciated.