One of the most important qualities for a caregiver to have is empathy. This is a trait caregiver Tessie S. puts at the top of her priority list. During a caregiver's career, hardly a day will go by when he or she doesn't need to call on the power of empathy. Tessie has learned that simply being patient and caring with a client, rather than getting annoyed when difficult behaviors emerge, can help encourage clients to open up. In other words, empathy is a must if you want to build trusting relationships with your clients.
Many people come to caregiving in their own unique way. Prior to caregiving, Tessie worked in an administrative branch of the armed forces in the Philippines. While she liked her job, her tasks were mostly paperwork and she felt she was better suited for a career that involved more interaction with people.
Tessie got her start with caregiving as a family caregiver in the Philippines. She provided care for her brother for eight years before she moved to the United States. Tessie landed in New York and transitioned from being a family caregiver to a private caregiver for employment. When she moved to California a couple years later, she made another transition in her caregiving career by getting hired with an in-home care agency. She has now spent four years with Alegre Home Care and feels that caregiving is her calling.
Building Connection through Caregiving
Moving to a new country comes with numerous challenges. Tessie often misses her friends and family members back home. She feels extra grateful for being a caregiver because she gets to meet so many new people, which helps with the loneliness. The connection she gets to experience with others has become one of Tessie’s favorite aspects of being a caregiver.
She enjoys many types of activities with her clients, such as playing cards and board games and listening to music, but her favorite activity is having conversations. Most of the clients she works with are bed ridden, so conversing is often one of the few options. Tessie loves that she gets to learn so much about so many different types of people.
A memory that stands out for Tessie is a client who was from Greece. Tessie and her client would talk about Greece mythology and history. It was a wonderful way to learn about someone else’s culture. Tessie also recalls the time she had a client who was a former stage director and took it upon herself to help Tessie practice her pronunciation of the English language.
A Message of Empathy
Tessie’s goal is to always give her best when providing care for people. She believes that a good practice is to listen to clients and have patience. When it comes to empathy, she tries to put herself in their shoes. It’s in her nature to help others.
Tessie is always looking to strengthen the quality of her in-home care services, and she’s found that the best way to learn is on the job. Each client provides an opportunity to practice empathy, patience, and compassion. It’s this nurturing aspect of caregiving that Tessie finds fulfilling. Providing care for others is when she feels most like her true self.
Her dedication to caregiving doesn’t go unnoticed. The staff coordinators at Alegre Home Care admire Tessie’s work ethic. “She’s a terrific caregiver,” says service coordinator Luis Martinez. “It’s always a yes with her, never a no. Fantastic work ethic.”
Feeling appreciated by her coworkers is icing on the cake for Tessie. She tries her best to accept everything that is given to her and to be flexible about schedules. Even when she works night shifts or has clients with difficult behaviors, Tessie always tries to be sweet.
Highly empathetic caregivers like Tessie know not to take things personally and that caregiving comes with more rewards than challenges. If family members of clients can tell that you care about their loved one just like they do, they'll feel more comfortable knowing that their loved one is in good hands. With Tessie, clients are always in good hands, and this is why Alegre Home Care honors her as a Caregiver of the Month.