Veronica Karanja’s husband was already working in Boston as a Minister in an African Church when, in 2005, Veronica and their children left their home in Kenya to join him. Veronica’s work had always involved helping and ministering to others, so once in Boston, she earned her CNA and took a job in a nursing home. She soon discovered that caregiving was her true calling. “I realized that helping others this way was also a ministry,” she said. Veronica continued to feel this way, but she also discovered that the Boston weather “was ridiculous! It was just too cold!” she said. It was also time for her daughters to begin looking at colleges and in 2009 the family moved to Tacoma where Veronica’s husband now serves as a minister in an Episcopal Church.
Arriving in Tacoma, Veronica found a job with a home care agency. But in 2014 when the agency moved, she had already learned about Family Resource Home Care and saw the move as an opportunity for change. “My friend worked for Family Resource and she told me that they were just like their name – that family came first. That made me very interested,” she said. “I was hired, and I am so proud to be working for them!”
Veronica works out of the Tacoma office doing four 12-hour over-night shifts each week. Her client will turn 107 years-old in October and has an apartment in an Assisted Living community. Veronica is happy with her 8:00 PM – 8:00 AM work schedule as it gives her time during the day to help her married daughters and spend time with her grandchildren.
Veronica believes that establishing a routine with her client helps each shift run smoothly. “When I began working with my client she was very weak and was on hospice care. I think that older people are not so interested in food so they eat very little. If nobody offers them food then they get weak. As soon as I arrive in the evening I offer her tea and snacks. Later I will ask her to take a few sips of Boost. We watch TV together until the 11 o’clock news is over. Then I give her some more Boost and get her ready for bed. At 6:00 AM I wake her up and she has some more Boost and goes back to sleep. At 7:00 I wake her again and she has some yogurt.” Veronica continues to describe the morning routine explaining that by 7:30 Mary has had enough Boost, water, and yogurt that she is willing to go to the bathroom. “Since she’s already in the bathroom it gives me a chance to give her a sponge bath. By 8:00 AM when I am ready to leave she is back in bed with a glass of water by her side and the morning newspaper. She reads the newspaper and doesn’t even need reading glasses!” Veronica exclaims. “She is still on hospice but she’s strong now from all the Boost and can do some things for herself!”
“When I give myself wholeheartedly to another person, the care I give makes me happy,” says Veronica. “When I care this way for an older woman, I can feel my mom in her. When I give myself wholeheartedly to care for an older man, I can feel my dad. If my client is a woman I feel my sister in her and when I’m caring for a man and I give myself wholeheartedly, I feel my brother. This is my calling now. It makes me happy to care for my clients.”
Family Resource has been just the right fit for Veronica. “There are many things I appreciate,” she says. “When I need time to do something for my own family, they are flexible and accommodating. They also want us to continue our education. They give us many opportunities for training so we can become better caregivers. I am happy in this field and with FRHC,” she concludes.