Since joining Family Resource in December of 2020, Maryann Teleni has proven herself to be extremely professional and responsible. As Tacoma’s float caregiver, she wears many different hats and sees different types of clients multiple times a day all over the region. Maryann adapts easily to different people and settings, which might not be a surprise as she’s been a professional caregiver since 1993.
Maryann was exposed to caregiving as a young child by her mother. Her mom, a CNA, would take Maryann and her sister to the facility in which she worked. Maryann loved visiting her mother’s clients in nursing homes, and the clients equally loved spending time with her and her sister. When Maryann’s mother got older, she too needed caregiving, and Maryann and her sister stepped in to help. Maryann has been caregiving ever since. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she says. “Growing up, I always knew I wanted to care for people.”
She learned from the best. By being present with her mom at work, Maryann learned that caregiving is hard work, and the best caregivers go above and beyond to make their clients happy. Maryann most appreciates having a relationship with her clients. Though it comes naturally to her, she still works hard to ensure that she’s not just another caregiver coming to perform tasks. “I’m a person that they look forward to seeing,” said Maryann, “not just a person coming in for a job.”
Though she’s been in the industry a long time, one-on-one in-home care is still relatively new to Maryann. She first worked at Samaritan Hospital for 10 years, then in nursing homes, followed by pediatrics, where she cared for children both at home and in hospitals. Out of all the people she’s cared for over the years, Maryann feels the most connection with elderly clients. The desire to work with older clients is what brought her to Family Resource Home Care. When she saw Family Resource’s excellent online reviews from employees, she applied. Soon after being hired, she took a role as the Tacoma branch’s float and this is the happiest she’s ever been. “I like to spread my blessings,” she stated. As a float caregiver, Maryann sees around 2-3 home care clients a day and travels all over the South Puget Sound area. Everyone in the office agrees that she’s the perfect float and she also feels very comfortable in the role, saying: “I have so much experience that I’m able to deal with any kind of client that they give me.”
One drawback of the float role is being pulled in many directions. Often, after caring for someone, the client will request for Maryann to become their permanent caregiver because they love her style of caregiving so much. However, her role calls her to be elsewhere and she only returns to the same client when the need arises. She thinks this is a good problem to have, however, as it is proof of her desire to do an amazing job with all clients.
Naturally, caregiving can become difficult or even sad at times. When Maryann is faced with such challenges, she takes solace in helping clients with everything they may need. She assures them that everything will be okay – which she truly believes – no matter what happens. If a client is struggling, she sits with them, sharing space. She makes a point to stay with her clients until the next person shows up to care for them, even if that means cutting into her own personal time. She always wants to be sure that her clients are cared for as best as possible.
“I think having Family Resource doing this job for these people is amazing,” Maryann emphasized. Even after working in nursing homes and hospital settings for so long, she didn’t know one-on-one in-home care existed prior to finding FRHC. She is so thankful that caregivers can come into people’s homes and do simple tasks like washing dishes. “It’s a great service,” she enthusiastically stated, “because you’ll visit people and see the dishes piling up, so it’s a very necessary service.”
In addition to helping clients maintain their personal independence, Maryann especially likes cooking for her clients and sharing meals together. Her clients will find recipes they’d like her to cook and, after she makes the meal, she enjoys sharing space at the table getting to know clients better and listening to stories.
When Maryann isn’t caregiving, she loves spending time with her children. While she hasn’t been able to go to the YMCA to play volleyball together due to the pandemic, she and her daughters spend time going for a drive and finding a nice spot to hang out. Her twin sons live on their own in University Place, but her two daughters still live with her which means they get to spend quality time together nearly every weekend. Family time is of extreme importance to Maryann and ‘family’ is a label that she extends to our clients as well. And for that, Family Resource is very grateful.