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Compassion Beyond the Clock: Janica's Journey as a Caregiver

By MissionCare Collective | Jan 01, 2024

Compassion Beyond the Clock: Janica's Journey as a Caregiver

In the world of healthcare, direct care workers are the unsung heroes, offering a vital lifeline to many individuals in need. Janica, a seasoned direct care worker, shines a light on the passion and challenges that come with this profession. Her story serves as a poignant reminder that caregivers are more than just healthcare providers; they’re also pillars of comfort, understanding, and above all, love.

A Passion Born from Personal Experience
When asked about her motivation for entering the field, Janica recalls her days as the older sibling. "I’ve always had this inbuilt passion. I took care of my siblings and, eventually, my grandmother when she fell sick. That's when I realized I had a calling," she reflects. This hands-on experience with her ailing grandmother paved the way for her career in caregiving. Recognizing her natural knack for caring, she pursued and acquired her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) qualification.

The Many Hats of a Caregiver
While Janica has dipped her toes into various caregiving roles, from hospitals to care facilities, her heart lies with geriatrics. "I prefer home care. In facilities, you sometimes have 14 patients at a time, making it less personal. But with home care, you can cultivate a one-on-one bond," she says. She fondly recalls a geriatric patient who took immense joy in knowing about Janica's family, a relationship that went beyond mere caregiving. "Being able to share love and alleviate her loneliness was fulfilling," she admits.

Balancing work with personal life, especially as a mother of three, including twin 10-year-olds, is no easy feat. "Being part of a blended family has its perks. We make it work as a team," Janica states. Yet, her innate need to assist extends beyond her professional life. "If I see someone on the street that might need help, I'm there. Being a caregiver is more than just a job for me. It's about making a difference, no matter how small."

Challenges in Care
Like any profession, caregiving comes with its challenges. "Building trust and companionship can be tricky, especially with clients who've been independent all their lives," she notes. Furthermore, dealing with overbearing families, some of whom try to dictate without experience, requires immense patience and tact.

However, a significant concern she raises is the inadequate remuneration for caregivers. "We do so much, from reminding patients about things, running errands, cleaning, cooking, to transporting them. Yet, our pay does not reflect our effort," Janica laments. She draws a comparison to other jobs that offer similar wages for less strenuous work, which she believes is a reason for the shortage of caregivers.

The Way Forward
Janica acknowledges that while pay is a significant concern, there are other ways care companies can retain their employees. "Recognition goes a long way," she says, citing one of her agencies that rewards its caregivers with incentives like 'CNA of the week' and offers prizes like TVs and speakers. "Such gestures drive me to provide even better care."

While the journey has its bumps, for Janica, the passion for care remains undeterred. Each day, she steps into someone’s home with a singular mission: to leave a lasting positive impression and provide the best care possible, regardless of pay. Her story serves as an inspiring testament to the heart and dedication that direct care workers bring to their roles, even in the face of adversity.

To listen to Janica’s interview and to see more stories of the direct care workforce, explore the "One Voice. Many Stories" project published in partnership with the National Association for Home Care and Hospice.