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Mary's Legacy: Three Decades of Dedicated Care

By MissionCare Collective | Nov 27, 2023

Mary's Legacy: Three Decades of Dedicated Care

As the demand for caregivers continues to surge, we had the unique opportunity to speak with a veteran of the field: Mary, an 80-year-old caregiver with a staggering 30 years of experience. In this upbeat conversation, Mary shares insights about the evolving landscape of caregiving, her unwavering dedication to her patients, and her perspective on the future of the industry.

Decades of Dedication

Mary's caregiving journey began with the desire to give back. Having been cared for by her grandmother, she felt the innate urge to return the favor when the time came. "I took care of my grandmother because she took care of me," she recalls. Her commitment to the caregiving role led her to attain both her CNA and HHA qualifications.

Unlike many in the sector today, Mary remains fiercely dedicated to her work, attributing her devotion to a genuine love for helping people. "I love putting a smile on my patients' faces," she beams.

Facing the Challenges Head-On

While Mary's passion for her job is evident, she doesn't shy away from addressing the challenges she faces. She candidly speaks about the current generation's work ethic, noting a marked contrast from her time. "Young people, they don’t want to work," she laments. Mary also observes that many new caregivers lack the training and dedication, simply turning up for a paycheck.

Nevertheless, Mary has always been one to rise above adversity. Whether it's young colleagues giving her challenging assignments or dealing with demanding family members, she remains resolute. Her mantra? "I persist."

A Testament to Endurance

The secret to Mary's long-lasting career in caregiving isn't just her dedication. She emphasizes the role physical fitness has played, crediting her daily visits to the YMCA for keeping her in shape. "I’ve been going to the YMCA for years," she says, underscoring her commitment to maintaining her health to perform her duties efficiently. 

However, age does bring its limitations. While Mary is still fit and strong, having only one client now, she admits that finding more at her age can be challenging, especially when heavy lifting is involved.

A Plea for Change

Having witnessed the caregiving industry's evolution over three decades, Mary believes the most significant shift has been in the way caregivers treat their patients. She laments the growing rudeness and unwillingness of some caregivers to genuinely care for their charges.

Her advice to agencies? "Start your own training classes if you can afford it." Mary is convinced that proper training can bridge the gap between her generation of caregivers and the new one.

When asked if she would ever retire, Mary's answer is unequivocal: "I will retire when God takes me. I love to help people and I want to work."

In a world where caregiving is often overlooked and undervalued, Mary stands as a beacon of dedication and love. Her story serves as a reminder that caregiving, at its core, is about humanity, compassion, and unwavering commitment.

To listen to Mary’s interview and to see more stories of the direct care workforce, download the Many Stories, One Voice Home care research study published in partnership with the National Association for Home Care and Hospice.