Caregiver of the Month: Tammy W. Provides a Listening Ear
In-home caregiver Tammy W. believes that the two most important traits of a quality caregiver are patience and being a good listener. She learned early on that seniors and people with disabilities need caregivers who prioritize healthy communication.
As someone who has always had a listening ear, caregiving was a natural vocation for Tammy. She especially enjoys working with seniors and finds the companionship, empathy, and human-to-human connection to be very rewarding. For Tammy, caregiving is about holding space for people and providing a sense of fulfillment for both the caregiver and the people receiving care.
A Family of Caregivers
Born and raised in Oakland, Tammy’s introduction to caregiving began with her mother, who was a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Providing healing, care, and comfort to people was a cornerstone of family life.
When Tammy’s grandmother became sick with brain cancer, it was Tammy who was by her side providing care. This was when Tammy first realized she was passionate about working with the elderly. She wanted all seniors to receive the same compassion and care that she was able to give to her grandmother. Tammy also assisted with her aunt when she was in rehabilitation for a knee replacement. By caring for her family members, she found her path to caregiving.
In-Home Care Services with Alegre Home Care
In 1994, Tammy got her Certified Nursing Assistant license. She spent time working at Eden Medical Centre, a not-for-profit hospital and also worked for a while in hospice care. In 2017 she transitioned to being a full time in-home caregiver with Alegre Home Care.
More than three years later, Tammy is as dedicated as ever. Her co-workers admire her positive, can-do attitude and her willingness to go the extra mile for her clients. Sometimes Tammy goes the extra mile quite literally when she commutes from Oakland to San Francisco to provide in-home care services.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Tammy has taken her dedication even further. Transit availability has been drastically reduced, but she still always shows up on time for her clients. She has a regular client Monday through Friday and knows how much it would affect him if she didn’t show up in the way he needed. Tammy also takes extra precautions to keep herself and her clients safe, such as following all COVID-19 safety measures and even wearing a double mask while on public transit. As a person who is diabetic, Tammy understands how important it is to be diligent with protecting your health.
A Passion for Caregiving
When it comes down to it, Tammy simply has a passion for caregiving. She loves the independence, dignity, and sense of joy it can bring to people’s lives.
As a mother, Tammy instilled this spirit of caregiving in her twin daughters, who both worked for a time providing in-home care services. She believes it’s important for people to gain the qualities of empathy, compassion, and most importantly, patience. Good communication is so important, especially with clients who struggle with being able to communicate. Some seniors are non-verbal or have a health condition like dementia that can prevent them from being understood, but a caregiver who has patience and a good listening ear will be able to provide the level of care they need.
Tammy wants people to know that caregiving can be a lot of fun. There are so many activities caregivers can enjoy with their clients. For Tammy, it’s her love of cooking. She likes making new meals for her clients, especially dishes they have never tried before because it gives them a sense of culinary adventure. It’s these extra touches that make Tammy an exemplary caregiver.