Caregiving has always been a natural part of Grace’s life. It’s in her blood. In her family. “It felt natural to pursue it as a career,” she said. Her caregiving journey began informally, back home in Nairobi, Kenya, where she volunteered with her church. The church would do hospital visits for elders, children, and those who couldn’t help themselves, to pray for them and non-medically assist wherever they could. Grace also cared for her own parents and her in-laws when they grew old. Some of whom had dementia. Without any formal training, she had gained experience. When Grace came to the United States in 2010, she continued her work as a caregiver, providing care both in facilities and to clients individually.
Ten years in Virginia eventually led her to Seattle, where she worked for a company that closed sooner after. In pursuit of income, a friend told her about Family Resource Home Care. As a very loyal person who enjoyed working at Family Resource, she has remained with the company ever since.
To be a successful caregiver, Grace says, “You need a lot of patience. You need to be kind, compassionate, and reliable. Some people work to earn money, but you don’t get job satisfaction without these qualities.” Her clients trust her with their lives, and Grace takes this very seriously.
The aspect of caregiving that Grace most appreciates is seeing her clients happy. Some of them cannot communicate with her, particularly those with dementia, but whether they are speaking or not, she loves seeing them smile. She can tell that some of them are just happy that she’s there. “That has been my joy. To be a good caregiver, you have to be a good person. And most important, to empathize with them.” Grace knows full-well how difficult it can be to intimately care for someone who cannot help themselves. It’s critical to empathize with them and understand where they’re coming from.
Going the extra mile makes all the difference. “That’s why wherever I go, they want me to come back,” Grace advises. Having genuine compassion and care for someone is noticeable, and they gravitate to Grace for her natural ability to make them feel cared for. Caregiving can get very tough sometimes, she admits. What keeps her going are motivations beyond her own needs. “God has given me the strength, the power, to do this,” she stated. It helps, when times are tough, that her clients are her friends. It doesn’t feel burdensome to care for people she genuinely cares about.
Grace also has hobbies that keep her young. She likes to swim, walk, read, sing, listen to music, and go to church. Grace’s faith is very healing and gives her great strength in both the hard and good times. It is through this that she derives much of her meaning and purpose.