For Elaine, caregiving is a way of life. Her caregiving journey began about twelve years ago. She’d previously worked as an LPN, which was put on pause to raise her children. When it came time to return to the workforce, she realized starting from scratch to be relicensed as an LPN would be a long, expensive process.
Shortly thereafter, her mom fell ill. Elaine put her house up for rent and moved from Lake Stevens to Tacoma to take care of her mother. She needed work, so she got her CNA license, applied to be a caregiver, and began working for a home care agency in Tacoma. This was the first time she was caregiving for both families and clients. After her mother’s passing, she moved back to Lake Stevens and began caregiving for an old friend in the area. At the same time, she became a caregiver to her husband after he had a liver transplant.
Elaine’s relationship with caregiving has been both personal and professional for a long time. “I can’t imagine not doing it in some form,” she remarked. But, caring for a loved one versus a client can have some tricky elements, especially regarding boundaries with a person you have a preexisting relationship with.
When Elaine moved back to Lake Stevens, she started working for Cascade In-Home Care, which later became the Cascade branch of Family Resource Home Care. “They had the values that I was looking for,” Elaine recounts. She so enjoyed working there that she became a bit anxious about the merge, fearing that the company would become more corporate and impersonal. However, she says the office was still as receptive and caring as ever. “Everybody has been great.”
Despite being thrown into it in many regards, Elaine really enjoys caregiving. The social aspect, communication, getting to know her clients. She finds it rewarding to help people that are unable to help themselves, even with simple tasks. Elaine values the deep connections she’s able to foster with her clients. Sometimes they just need someone to listen. They will often ask Elaine to sit down so they can tell her their stories or their woes. “Seniors as a whole can teach us so much about life. If you just listen,” she says.
The Cascade branch has endless wonderful things to say about Elaine. Cascade’s branch manager Alysha said, “Elaine is always dependable. She regularly takes the initiative to send updates on her clients. She is an amazing advocate, always keeping their safety and best interest in mind. All of her clients have loved her and say how wonderful she is.” The power of attorney for a recent client also commented, “Elaine was an instant and amazing fit and we couldn’t be happier.”
When Elaine isn’t caregiving, she loves to garden with her husband in their yard. Many of the plants she tends have come directly from the clients she’s cared for. Over the years, clients have gifted her cuttings of their plants, many of whom have passed. Elaine has undeliberately created a sort of memorial for her clients, allowing them to live on as beautiful plants. In a poetic way, she’s still caring for them. Her favorite plants in the garden are the hydrangeas. From her late mother.
The people in Elaine’s life, her family, clients, and the Cascade branch, are all lucky to have her. We are especially grateful she is a part of the FRHC family.